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He picked it right up

Ortiz handles his return to first

ST. LOUIS -- After considerable concern about how he would fare at first base, David Ortiz handled the position well and made a crucial throw to double up Cardinals pitcher Jeff Suppan at third base in the third inning.

The double play seemed to change the momentum of the game. With runners at second and third, the Red Sox -- leading, 1-0 -- were conceding a run with lefthanded-hitting Larry Walker at the plate. Walker grounded to second baseman Mark Bellhorn, who tossed to first. But Suppan went halfway down the third base line, then got caught scurrying back to third on a nifty throw from Ortiz.

Ortiz wasn't done in the inning. Bill Mueller's throw from third on a hard grounder by Albert Pujols was picked out of the dirt by Ortiz for the third out.

Ortiz had only played three games at first base since the All-Star break, and one since July 22. After making four errors in each of the first two games, the Red Sox were concerned with their defense, but Ortiz played flawlessly.

He seemed pleased as he left the clubhouse. "I'm out of here," he said. "I survived playing first base."

Arroyo ready for call
The Red Sox publicly have said Curt Schilling's status remains day to day, though they expect him to start a potential Game 6 Saturday despite the risks involved in suturing his dislocated right ankle tendon in place for the third time this postseason.

But Bronson Arroyo indicated last night he has been told to prepare for the possibility of replacing Schilling if the Cardinals force a Game 6.

"They're saying there's more a possibility that he won't pitch than he will," Arroyo said.

Arroyo said he asked team officials for a clarification.

"Is it 100 percent that Schilling will not throw again in the World Series?" Arroyo said he inquired. "They said, `Not 100 percent.' "

Knowing Schilling's tenacity, Arroyo took that as a sign Schilling would pitch again if his turn came up. After all, Derek Lowe said Schilling told him a couple of times earlier in the playoffs to prepare perhaps to replace him.

"It's not looking good right now," Arroyo said of his chances of starting. "I know if Game 6 rolls around or Game 7, he will be on the mound. I guarantee it. It doesn't matter what they say up until the day of that start. He will be on the mound that day. Whether he goes three, four, five innings and has to shut it down, he'll be out there."

Manager Terry Francona indicated Arroyo could be part of the team's contingency plans.

"We always try to think ahead," he said. "We just keep all the options open. If something ever happened that was out of the ordinary, we would adjust. We have guys who are able to do it and willing to do it."

When Schilling's tendon was sealed in place with stitches through the deep tissue in his ankle before Game 2 of the World Series, one of the sutures aggravated a nerve, prompting him to believe -- temporarily -- that he would not be able to pitch. And because the procedure is experimental, giving the Sox no medical history about the possible negative effects, they could be reluctant to use it again.

But Francona had little doubt Schilling would try to pitch.

"The closer it gets to his time to pitch, his mentality changes so drastically,"

As for repeating the previously untested procedure, Francona said, "I just don't know medically enough how he would feel. I don't doubt they would do it, but I'm glad there's not going to be a lot more attempts at this."

Plan ahead
When word reached St. Louis that Boston was planning a victory parade, it raised some eyebrows. Citing city officials, the Globe reported yesterday that the parade would be held on the second day after the Sox won the Series, unless it were Election Day. Premature? Several Sox players had little interest in addressing the issue, but Alan Embree said, "They've got to plan ahead. That's a positive way to do it. At least they're not saying, `Hey, we're going to have a consolation parade for you.' " . . . Since Kevin Millar pokes as much fun as anyone at his teammates, Francona returned the favor when he was asked about Millar's new role in a National League park as a bench player behind Ortiz. "My biggest concern is how many snacks he'll have on the bench," Francona said. "A couple of times in interleague play when he didn't start he looked like Larry Mondello [from `Leave it to Beaver']. He was out there with a sack lunch. One time I was like, `Are you ready?' He was like, `I've got a stomach ache.' We'll kind of keep an eye on him."

Eighth man in
With Pedro Martinez batting ninth, Francona had several options to consider for the eighth spot, including Bellhorn, Orlando Cabrera, and Mueller. He opted for Bellhorn. "To me, he's the perfect guy," Francona said. "His at-bats aren't going to change. Since Day 1, it hasn't mattered if the bases are loaded with two outs or we're down, 10-0. If they throw it in the zone, he has a chance to hurt them. If they throw it out of the zone, he'll take his walk, and depending on where we are in the game, we might pinch hit." . . . ESPN's Peter Gammons reported that the Chibe Lotto Mariners of Japan have talked to the Sox about taking Byung Hyun Kim and some of his salary off the team's hands, with Adam Hyzdu possibly going to Japan in the deal. Hyzdu was Triple A Pawtucket's player of the year after he hit .301 with 29 homers and 79 RBIs. "It's been a subject of a lot of conversation over the years," Hyzdu said of playing in Japan. "I've been a candidate based on the fact that I don't have a major league home. I also hit a lot of homers, and that's highly marketable in the Eastern civilization." American players in Japan can earn much more than the $300,000 minimum they would make in the majors. "You have a chance financially to set yourself up a little bit, which you're not going to do here," Hyzdu said.

Their biggest lead
The Sox hold a 3-0 lead in a World Series for the first time. No team has lost Game 4 of a World Series after winning the first three since the 1970 Orioles, who won the Series in five games. No team has blown a 3-0 lead . . . The Sox won their seventh straight postseason game, matching the longest winning streak in a single postseason. Three other teams accomplished the feat: the 1998 Yankees, the '95 Braves and '76 Reds. No team has won eight straight games in the same postseason . . . Manny Ramirez has hit safely in 16 straight postseason games dating back to last year, matching Pat Borders of the Blue Jays for the second-longest streak in postseason history . . . Martinez's scoreless outing was his first in postseason play since Game 3 of the 1999 ALCS against the Yankees. He is 6-2 with a 3.40 ERA in 13 career postseason appearances . . . Keith Foulke, who surrendered the only Cardinals run on a solo homer by Walker, has finished all three games of the Series . . . Cabrera singled in the fifth inning to extend his postseason hitting streak to 10 games. He joined Ramirez, Mueller and Johnny Damon in hitting safely in each game of the World Series. . .The game was the shortest (2 hours 58 minutes) the Sox have played since the regular-season finale in Baltimore (2:21) . . .

Recurring nightmare
Doug Mientkiewicz said of the intensity of the World Series, "We're in a situation where if we screw up, it's on ESPN Classic every night.". . . The Sox won the first two games despite setting a World Series record with four errors in consecutive games. The last team to win two straight games in regular season or postseason while committing at least four errors in each game was the Orioles May 28-29, 1986 . . . Seattle Mariners designated hitter Edgar Martinez, who retired after the season, received the Roberto Clemente Award for community service . . . Cardinals greats Stan Musial and Bob Gibson tossed ceremonial first pitches . . . Martina McBride performed the national anthem and Amy Grant sang "God Bless America." 

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