-- Manny Ramirez's swing has always been admired for its beauty and precision. His defense, though, is not quite so smooth. In their 11-9 win against St. Louis, the Boston Red Sox were able to overcome two Ramirez errors in the eighth inning that allowed the Cardinals to tie the game. Of course, Ramirez's three hits and two RBI, his first since the American League Division Series, had helped put the Red Sox ahead heading into the eighth. It was the typical Ramirez game: Bad fielding and big hits, inspiring moments at the plate and laughable episodes in the field.
Ramirez's two gaffes were particularly embarrassing, though the Red Sox didn't change anybody's perception they are strictly a hitting team with four errors altogether.
"I don't think you want to do that, especially in the World Series," David Ortiz said.
Edgar Renteria's single to left field with two men on base slipped under Ramirez's glove, allowing pinch runner Jason Marquis to score the Cardinals' eighth run. Ramirez said he rushed trying to get to the ball.
"I thought he was going to go home," Ramirez said.
In the following at-bat, Larry Walker hit a fly ball to Ramirez. The Boston left fielder tracked the ball as it faded toward the left field line. Ramirez attempted a sliding catch, but his foot got caught on what he thought was a drainage hole in the grass, causing him to tumble.
"Unfortunately he dropped the ball," Boston center fielder Johnny Damon said. "From my angle it looked like his foot got stuck on the ground."
The ball smacked off his glove, toward the line, allowing Roger Cedeno to score the tying run.
"I shouldn't have dove for the ball," Ramirez said. "I should have caught it easily."
Ramirez was on the ground for a few moments, and appeared to stretch his back. He walked around slowly.
"At that point I was just lucky I didn't get hurt," Ramirez said. "Thank God I'm fine."
Several teammates approached Ramirez after the inning and told him not to get upset.
"C'mon," they told him. "We're going to pick you up."
The Red Sox were saved when Mark Bellhorn hit a two-run, game-winning home run in the eighth inning.
Ramirez had his first RBI of the game in Boston's three-run third inning when his ground ball to shortstop scored Bellhorn. In the seventh, Ramirez drove in what was at the time the go-ahead run with a single, again scoring Bellhorn. Ramirez had no home runs or RBI in the Red Sox' win against the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series, but he said he didn't get down after that.
"It doesn't matter who gets the most RBI," Ramirez said. "We just want to win. I know I could do the job out there any time."
In the batter's box, Ramirez certainly gets the job done. On the field is another matter completely.