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Archive for Friday, October 22, 2004

Boston facing old nemesis in Cardinals

St. Louis topped Sox in ‘46, ‘67 classics

October 22, 2004

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Paint the World Series red -- Red Sox and Redbirds, a classic matchup filled with a rich history.

After finishing off the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox face their biggest National League nemesis, the St. Louis Cardinals, in the World Series starting Saturday night at Fenway Park.

When Ted Williams led the Red Sox to the 1946 World Series following Boston's first AL pennant since 1918, the Cardinals beat them in Game 7. And when Carl Yastrzemski's Red Sox made it back in 1967, the Cardinals defeated them again in seven games.

Boston, which lost Game 7s to the Cincinnati Reds in 1975 and the New York Mets in 1986, wasn't focused on its Series opponent after winning 10-3 on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium to become the first major-league team to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series.

Earlier Thursday, Boston manager Terry Francona said he had not had time to focus on the NL teams.

"I hope they play 30 innings tonight. I hope they beat the heck out of each other," he said.

St. Louis, which beat Houston, 5-2, in Game 7 of the NL championship series Thursday night, was a major-league-best 105-57 during the regular season. Boston's 98-64 mark was second in the AL, three games behind the Yankees.

"It's going to be a challenge," Cardinals outfielder Larry Walker said. "Obviously, they're riding a high, too."

Boston, which won its 11th pennant, starts knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in the opener, most likely against Woody Williams, followed by Curt Schilling for the Red Sox in Game 2. Boston's Pedro Martinez is slated for Game 3 on Tuesday at Busch Stadium, with Derek Lowe starting the following night.

"They've got a great team. We have to play our best," said the Cardinals' Albert Pujols, the NLCS MVP. "They're going to be ready for us. It won't be easy."

In 1967, the Red Sox fell behind 3-1 in the Series before forcing a Game 7 at Fenway Park.

Jim Lonborg pitched on two days' rest against Bob Gibson, who had three days' rest. Gibson pitched a three-hitter, while Lonborg allowed seven runs and 10 hits in six innings.

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