ST. LOUIS, OCT. 21 -- The sounds of "We're Gonna Win, Twins," the sight of Homer Hankies flapping to "My Baby Does the Hanky Panky" and thoughts of an easy time in the World Series for the Minnesota Twins suddenly are very far away.

Tonight, what was sweet music for Twins ace Frank Viola became a flat and tinny symphony in Busch Stadium. Viola only lasted 3 1/3 innings in Game 4 of the World Series, giving up a three-run homer to Tom Lawless in the fourth that got the Cardinals started on their 7-2 victory, tying the Series at two games each.

Did the cold weather bother Viola? No.

Did the three days rest bother him? No.

"I have no excuses," Viola said. "I just pitched a poor game tonight. I got behind too many hitters and they took advantage."

Viola had two things going against him. He was pitching on three days rest and he was pitching on the road. At the Metrodome, including the American League Championship Series, he is 12-3 with a 2.78 ERA. On the road, he was 7-7 with a 3.15 ERA.

But he would have none of it. He knew what he wanted to do tonight. He simply didn't execute.

"If {pitching on three days rest} bothered me, I would have said something," he said. "I felt pretty good, but I just didn't get the ball over the plate. Against this team, you have to get ahead of the batters."

Viola did not do that. After retiring the side in order in the first, he gave up consecutive one-out singles to Willie McGee and Tony Pena. But he got Jose Oquendo on a fly to right and struck out Lawless looking.

In the third, leading by 1-0 on Greg Gagne's homer in the top of the inning, Viola walked Ozzie Smith with two out. Tom Herr and Jim Lindeman followed with singles that drove Smith in and tied the score.

Still, Viola said he felt fine. "It wasn't that I didn't have my best stuff," he said. "The hits I gave up going into the fourth inning weren't the best-hit balls in the world. But that's St. Louis' game, too."

Something was troubling, though, and that was Viola's wildness high in the strike zone. Because he didn't establish the strike zone early, he said, home plate umpire John McSherry later did not give him strikes he thought he had.

"On a couple of occasions, I thought I had pitches that were right there," he said, "but because I was so wild high, I didn't get that pitch."

Then came the fourth. Viola gave up a leadoff walk to Pena, and Oquendo followed with a single to center. Up came Lawless, who only had two hits during the regular season and started a total of three games.

"Everybody saw what it was," Viola said. "A fastball over the plate. He hit it."

Only the most dedicated of trivia buffs would know that Lawless' only other homer in the majors came April 25, 1984, at Atlanta, off Ken Dayley when Dayley was a Brave and Lawless was a Cincinnati Red.

But Lawless acted as if he hit homers all the time, walking up the first base line with bat in hand while the ball was in flight, then flicking the bat away when left field umpire Lee Weyer signaled a homer.

Viola was not amused. "No comment," he said.

"I saw {Lawless} on the replay," Twins third baseman Gary Gaetti said. "He was styling. I'm sure he's done that a lot of times. Why not milk it? That's one of the better ones I've seen. It's right up there with {Giants left fielder} Jeffrey Leonard. But {Leonard's} was better."

Minnesota had two chances to get back in the game. In the fifth, the Twins scored a run and had two on with one out. But Smith dived for Gaetti's grounder to force Kirby Puckett at second, and Vince Coleman made a sliding catch of Tom Brunansky's sinking drive for the final out.

In the seventh, the Twins knocked out reliever Ken Forsch and had the bases loaded with one out. But Gaetti struck out and Brunansky popped up to Lindeman at first to retire the side.

"I'm gonna put us back in the game," Gaetti said of his intentions at the plate against Ken Dayley. "I just wanted to see the ball and hit it hard."

He was asked about bringing in Dayley, a left-handed pitcher, to go against himself and Brunansky, right-handed hitters.

"You gotta remember that {Cardinals Manager} Whitey {Herzog} is a genius," Gaetti said with his tongue firmly planted in cheek. "Last night, he told Coleman to hit the ball down the {left field} line, and he did."

"{Dayley} gave me the pitch I wanted to hit," Brunansky said. "I just missed it."

But the Twins remain a confident lot. They know that, if the series does go seven games, two games will be back at the Metrodome.

"We're going to be in the fifth game of the World Series," Minnesota Manager Tom Kelly said. "We're here to enjoy it and have fun with it. So if you're going to be down about it, I don't see much sense in showing up for it."

"I wouldn't like it to go seven," Viola said. "But if it does, I want the ball. Damn right. I don't want my season to end on a note like tonight."