Heading Home: Cards eager to return to Busch
Boston • Home is where the wins are for the St. Louis Cardinals.
And that's where they'll be playing the next three games of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox.
The Cardinals' 54-27 home record was the second best in the majors. They'll play the first of three games at Busch Stadium on Saturday after gaining a split of the first two games at Fenway Park with a 4-2 win Thursday night after an 8-1 loss in the opener.
"Excited to get home. I know everybody is," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said, "being able to take the World Series back to St. Louis and have our home fan base supporting us. (But) it meant a lot to be able to play here in Fenway. It's a pretty unique experience for a lot of guys that have never played here before to be able to do it on this stage.
"But there's no place like home. There's no doubt about it."
Carlos Beltran agreed.
"We know how well we play at home," he said. "Having the fans on your side is a big factor."
The right fielder had two singles and an RBI in Game 2 after getting an injection of the painkiller Toradol. He left the opener in the third inning after bruising his ribs when he hit the right-field wall while robbing David Ortiz of a grand slam in the second.
PAPI POWER: David Ortiz is becoming more dangerous with each swing. Seems that way, at least.
Ortiz homered for the second straight game in the World Series, sending a drive over the Green Monster on Thursday night. Despite the shot, Boston lost to St. Louis 4-2, leaving the teams tied at 1-all.
"My key? I'll let you know after the World Series is over," he said. "I'm not going to tell you all of my secrets now."
Big Papi hit his fifth homer of this postseason in 41 at-bats and 17th overall. He is tied for seventh overall with Jim Thome, one behind Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols. Manny Ramirez leads that list with 29.
Ortiz connected for a two-run shot in the sixth off Michael Wacha, ending the 22-year-old's scoreless streak at 18 2-3 innings, a rookie record in a single postseason.
"With this lineup that Boston has, you can't make mistakes or they'll let you pay. A good hitter like Ortiz, I made a mistake, 3-2 changeup up in the zone, and he made me pay," Wacha said.
After two days as a designated hitter, Ortiz will have to play the field to start Game 3 at St. Louis on Saturday night. The veteran DH has spent some time at first base, and did well there in 2004 when the Red Sox swept St. Louis.
If Ortiz moves to first base, he'll bump Mike Napoli from the lineup. Napoli was a catcher earlier in his career, but manager John Farrell said he won't put him behind the plate.
So, Ortiz has got his glove ready.
"It's likely that Game 3 he'll be at first base at this point, just a quick look at it," Farrell said. "And how we go from there, we'll go to it day to day. But again we're going to lose one of the middle-of-the-order bats, and that's understood going in. But still David's in a pretty good place right now offensively."
MORE MO: Former New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera made a tantalizing but not at all serious offer to baseball Commissioner Bud Selig on Thursday: another farewell tour, this time in the NL.
"Boss, listen to this, OK?" Rivera said on Thursday night before Game 2. "Since I did the whole American League and all the time with the family traveling with me, so I decided I'm going to give another shot in the National League. So here it is, guys."
Having praised Rivera effusively at the ceremony to present him with the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award, Selig said he would have no problem if Rivera came back for a 20th season.
"We'll make sure that happens," Selig said. "That you can be sure of."
With his family standing by, Rivera was honored on the field before the game. The Boston fans gave him a cheer, and Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz ran out to the mound to give him a hug.
Rivera finished his career with 652 saves the most in major league history including 44 this season, when he was 43 years old. Selig praised Rivera less for his statistical achievements than for the way he carried himself.
"All records we have said are made to be broken, but this is one that I'm very confident will stand the test of time," Selig said. "He became the face of baseball for this generation. And he did it in a way with so much class and so much dignity and so much honor that it couldn't help but make me as the commissioner of baseball proud to think that one of our great stars of this generation represented the game so beautifully."
Rivera said he hasn't really felt the change of retirement yet because it's just the offseason. That will come in February, when he doesn't report to spring training.
"You don't talk now about retirement anymore, you're talking about temptation," he said. "So I'm going to go as far as I can go, to where people don't play baseball."
And there are no second thoughts.
"I don't think it's hard when you make up your mind," Rivera said. "I give everything that I have in the tank. So I have nothing left. So if you see me like this, and you think I can play, I will tell you that I can't play no more, because I have nothing left."
BATTING THIRD: Dustin Pedroia spent most of his career hitting second in the Boston Red Sox lineup. Until this year.
The diminutive second baseman batted third 147 times this season and hasn't had to make much of an adjustment with sluggers David Ortiz and Mike Napoli hitting behind him.
"It hasn't changed my offensive approach," Pedroia said before Game 2 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. "I still try to do the same things. Sometimes on the bases with David hitting behind me, if they're not shifting him as much and he can hit with that hole, I won't run as much."
And he certainly doesn't hit with the power of a traditional No. 3 hitter.
The 5-foot-8, 165-pound Pedroia hit nine homers this year and had a total of 45 the past three years.
"I'm a run scorer, get on base and try to make something happen," Pedroia said, "hit the ball in the gaps, make the big hits, move runners, do everything. I don't look at it like I'm Miguel Cabrera and hit 40 home runs or things like that. I just try to play the game and do all I can."
The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Miguel Cabrera hit 44 homers this season and last season with the Detroit Tigers.
CARDINALS CHANGEUP: St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny made two changes in his starting lineup for Game 2 of the World Series.
Daniel Descalso replaced Pete Kozma at shortstop. Kozma made errors in each of the first two innings, helping the Red Sox to five runs in their 8-1 win over the Cardinals.
Kozma entered in the seventh inning as part of a double switch and responded by making a couple of nice plays.
"Regardless of what may have happened yesterday, he is a plus defender and we have a lot of confidence in him. So we want to get him in the game," manager Mike Matheny said.
Also, Jon Jay started instead of Shane Robinson in center field.
STICKY SITUATION: Pedro Martinez fired a high, hard one at the Cardinals.
The former Red Sox star said that St. Louis didn't lose Game 1 of the World Series because Boston ace Jon Lester had rosin on his glove.
"It's not about what he had in his glove," Martinez said. "It's about how bad St. Louis came out to play. They did not execute. They did not do anything right, and Lester had everything going on for him. That's all you had to look at. St. Louis was flat. Lester had his good stuff and he beat them. That's it. Clean and simple. That's it."
Martinez spoke before Game 2 at a news conference with two teammates from the 2004 Red Sox championship team, pitcher Derek Lowe and outfielder Trot Nixon.
After Boston's 8-1 win on Wednesday night, Cardinals minor league pitcher Tyler Melling posted a screen shot on Twitter showing a green substance on Lester's glove.
Lester and Red Sox manager John Farrell said Thursday that the substance was only rosin, which is legal. They both said Lester sweats a lot and uses the rosin to get a better grip on the ball.
Cardinals outfielder Shane Robinson went 1 for 3 against Lester and said Thursday he didn't see "anything out of the norm" while watching video.
"We just didn't put together any kind of streak of hits in a row to get any runs off of him," he said.
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