Notebook: Cards hitters humbled in Boston

St. Louis’ MVP candidates strand six runners in scoring position
Monday, October 25, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:51 a.m. CDT, Monday, June 16, 2008

BOSTON — The National League’s best offense is off to a feeble start in the World Series, and the St. Louis Cardinals’ chances are going along with it.

A lineup that featured three MVP candidates in Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds was hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position Sunday night, failing to capitalize on the second straight four-error game by the Boston Red Sox defense.

This after stranding nine runners, four each by Pujols and Rolen, in an 11-9 loss in Saturday night’s opener.

The result: The Cardinals are in a 2-0 hole as the best-of-seven series heads to St. Louis.

They’re 6-0 at home in the postseason, and they have to hope that the familiar surroundings will rejuvenate their offense.

The Cardinals were unable to mount any sustained rallies in the first two games.

Larry Walker was 4-for-5 Saturday night with a home run, single and double, but there wasn’t enough support.

Pujols was 3-for-4 with two doubles and scored a run in Game 2, but Rolen and Edmonds were 0-for-7 and the top six St. Louis hitters were a combined 3-for-21. In two games, Pujols, Rolen and Jim Edmonds were 4-for-23.

The Cardinals have missed their regular leadoff hitter. Tony Womack dropped to seventh in the order because of concerns about a balky lower back.

Edgar Renteria had two hits in Game 1 but was 0-for-3 on Sunday and is more comfortable as the No. 6 hitter.

The Cardinals also couldn’t take advantage of having a designated hitter in Boston’s Fenway Park, since their top power threat off the bench is John Mabry, who hit only 13 home runs.

ROAD WOES: The St. Louis Cardinals’ first World Series in 17 years has been a frustrating experience, at least on the road.

The Cardinals’ hotel for Red Sox home games is in Quincy, Mass., about a 30-minute drive from Fenway Park. The home team has the responsibility to arrange accommodations for the visitors, and the Cardinals set up the Red Sox at a hotel only three to four blocks from St. Louis’ Busch Stadium.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he feels bad for his players, most of whom are playing in their first World Series. This is the Cardinals’ first World Series since 1987.

“It was real disappointing,” La Russa said Sunday. “That’s why I suggested that we make the Boston hotel in Jefferson City. Boston should have taken care of it.”

The lowlight so far for La Russa came when the team bus arrived at the hotel about 2 a.m. Sunday after the 11-9 Game 1 loss. The hotel arranged to keep the dining room open for the Cardinals’ private use, but they weren’t happy with what they got.

“We walked in there and there was pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers and wings,” La Russa said. “So, that was our guys’ first World Series experience.”

General manager Walt Jocketty referred to the spread with disdain as “bar food.” He also said it was nearly impossible to hail a cab from the hotel.

The Cardinals were told no downtown hotel had a large enough bloc of rooms to accommodate their traveling party because of a sailing regatta, the Head of the Charles. The weekend event was expected to draw 200,000 fans, 1,400 boats and 7,000 athletes.

The second of the Cardinals’ two team buses also got stuck at Fenway after the game because of a sport utility vehicle parked in its path, a 25-minute delay according to La Russa.

For that, he suggested that the Red Sox’s team buses unload at the Gateway Arch, about a half-mile from Busch Stadium, and have the players walk the rest of the trip.

BAD HOP: Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and Red Sox groundskeeper Dave Mellor spoke before Sunday’s game, a day after David Ortiz’s hard seventh-inning grounder hit the edge of the infield grass took a wicked hop and hit Tony Womack on the collar bone, knocking him out of the game.

“The groundskeeper came up and apologized for the bad hop on Womack. I’ve never had that happen,” La Russa said. “We were playing four or five steps in the dirt, we weren’t really in, and we had a chance to get a double play or throw the guy out at the plate.

Mellor said it wasn’t really an apology. He just wanted to talk it over with La Russa and see how Womack was feeling.

“There was nothing wrong with the field,” Mellor said. “I don’t like to see anybody get hurt. It looked like it was a hard shot with some topspin.”

Womack was back in the lineup for Game 2.

“Could they erase that score that gave up that run, too?” Womack said. “That happens. That’s baseball.”

HOPES OF A NATION: Both starting shortstops in the World Series, Orlando Cabrera of the Boston Red Sox and Edgar Renteria of the St. Louis Cardinals, are from Colombia.

In a first, Colombian state TV is broadcasting the World Series. El Tiempo, in a near full-page spread, described to readers the World Series and its importance.

“I’ll certainly be watching the game,” said David Gomez, a taxi driver in Bogota. “As a Colombian, I feel very proud that two countrymen are playing in the World Series of the major leagues for the first time.”

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