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Sox have crazy 8th, cut Cards
10/24/2004 2:16 AM ET
BOSTON -- There were badly thrown balls and errors on consecutive plays by left fielder Manny Ramirez, who made no Red Sox fan forget the golden days when Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski roamed the territory beneath the Green Monster.

The wind whipped in at 21 mph from center field, turning the 49-degree gametime temperature into a football-like frolic at Fenway Park. Tim Wakefield, he of the dancing knuckleball, said the conditions weren't allowing his signature pitch to dance -- particularly during the fourth inning when he walked four St. Louis Cardinals and allowed most of a five-run Red Sox lead to dissipate.

"The ball was slick and the field was slippery," said Wakefield, trying to explain why the Red Sox committed four errors and still survived Game 1 of the World Series on Saturday night by defeating the Cardinals, 11-9. "But that's no excuse. I just lost location in the fourth inning. I wasn't getting any resistance to my knuckleball because the wind was at my back. But then again, I wasn't getting my fastball over, either."

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It's been that kind of postseason for the Red Sox, who've won five in a row at this juncture, including the four that snatched the American League Championship Series away from the Yankees. They look like a poor facsimile of the Bad News Bears at times and still win.

Even so, they committed only one error in the seven games against the Yankees and another in a three-game AL Division Series sweep of the Angels. So how does one explain Saturday night's defensive effort, the worst in a World Series game by anyone since Milwaukee booted the ball four times in Game 6 of the 1982 series against St. Louis, and the most by a Red Sox team since Game 4 of the 1946 World Series, also against the Cardinals?

"It was just a couple of mistakes," said center fielder Johnny Damon, who didn't make any of them, "but we're going to forget about it."

First baseman Kevin Millar and reliever Bronson Arroyo made throwing errors that led to costly runs. In the eighth inning, Ramirez booted an Edgar Renteria single and then flopped, slid and then deflected a Larry Walker line drive, allowing the Cards to score twice on the pair of plays, tying the game at 9.

Millar cut off a throw from right fielder Trot Nixon on Mike Matheny's fourth-inning sacrifice fly and inexplicably tried to get the tagging Reggie Sanders at third base. But his throw careened wildly, allowing Sanders to score.

"I shouldn't have thrown that ball. I didn't have a grip on it," Millar said. "I tried to make the play anyway, but that was my fault. I take full blame for that play."

Damon said from his vantage point, that Ramirez appeared to have hyperextended his right knee on the play that allowed the Cards to tie the score for the second time. The Redbirds erased deficits of 7-2 and 9-7 before succumbing to defeat.

"I thought he might be out for the rest of the World Series," Damon said about Ramirez.

But Ramirez said he was fine. No harm, no foul.

"I caught my foot in a drainage ditch," said Ramirez, who had two RBIs in the game, his first since the Division Series. "I shouldn't have dove for that ball. Thank God I'm fine."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.