Game balls: Rating Game 210/25/2004 12:55 AM ET
By Paul C. Smith / MLB.com
MLB.com is awarding "game balls" or, in this case, Wally the Green Monster to represent the Red Sox, and arches that represent the Gateway to the West in St. Louis. Let's see who earned the extra credits in Boston's commanding 6-2 victory on Sunday night at Fenway Park.
Five arches: On top of the world
Four arches: Clear view down-river
Three arches: Walker underneath
Two arches: Saw it in the guidebook
One arch: I thought you said St. Paul
Albert Pujols: His presence was not felt in Game 1, but a pair of early doubles in Game 2 and a single in the eighth inning let the Red Sox know that Pujols does not plan to go away quietly.
Matt Morris: The big right-hander gave it a good effort on short rest, but he was undone by walks (four) and big extra-base hits (three). Morris was gone with one out in the fifth inning. The early exits by Morris and Woody Williams in Game 1 make it terribly important that the Cardinals' starters stick around longer and save the bullpen in the next three games at Busch Stadium. If not, there might not be three more games.
Scott Rolen: He drove in his first run of the series, and the Cardinals' second run in Game 2, with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning. But the Cardinals have needed much more from their hard-nosed leader in the first two games. Maybe getting back to St. Louis will help the Midwestern boy relax a little more.
Five Wallys: Wave the Red Sox flag high and mighty
Four Wallys: Makes Red Sox Nation feel good
Three Wallys: The fur could use a little fluffing
Two Wallys: Might be time to dry-clean the outfit
One Wally: You're stuck rallying the faithful in northern Maine
Curt Schilling: Six innings, four hits, one unearned run, 94 pitches and 61 strikes. The numbers do not begin to tell the story of the man who has worn his red badge of courage on his right ankle. Schilling looks like he may be more intense when he is sitting on the bench bewteen innings, but the result has been the same the last two outings. He has gotten the strikeouts when he needed strikeouts. Schilling has gotten the ground balls when he needed them. And his teammates have rewarded him with enough runs to make it all worthwhile. Even if he can't make another start, Schilling has certainly done his part.
Boston fans: They arrived early to party on Yawkey Way and chat with other fans about what might be in store. Some of them carried clever signs but all of them carried hope in their heart for an end to the unspeakable championship drought. The brisk New England nights mattered not to the fans who stood and supported their boys on almost every play in every inning. In the battle of the two best groups of baseball fans in the world, Bostonians have once again set the standard.
Mark Bellhorn: After the Cardinals scored their first run in the fourth inning, the hero of Game 1 struck again. Following a walk and double, Bellhorn drilled a two-out, two-run double off the center-field wall. The blow gave Schilling and the Red Sox a commanding 4-1 lead and added to Bellhorn's string of clutch hits.
Jason Varitek: Need a big hit to drive in a big run in a big game? The Red Sox often look to their spiritual leader, and he often delivers in due time. Varitek was rewarded for his two-run triple in the first inning with several hearty hugs and a new pair of britches.
Orlando Cabrera: He hasn't been heard from much offensively in the postseason, but Cabrera helped put this game pretty much out of reach in the sixth inning with a two-out single off the Green Monster.
Boston defense: Bill Mueller and Varitek converged on a foul popup in the second inning that fell to the ground. Then Mueller made an error on a grounder in the fourth that allowed the Cardinals to score their first run. Mueller made another fielding error and then Bellhorn booted a ball, giving the Red Sox eight in the first two games. The miscues have not hurt so far but they certainly could very well come into play in St. Louis.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.