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Supporting player in spotlight for Red Sox

Marc Topkin
Published October 25, 2004

BOSTON - On a team loaded with big names, Mark Bellhorn doesn't get a lot of attention.

But that may change if he keeps getting big hits.

Bellhorn had the key hit Sunday, a two-run double that expanded the Red Sox lead to 4-1 and sent them to a 6-2 victory.

That was a night after hitting an eighth-inning home run that led the Red Sox to an 11-9 Series-opening win.

That was after hitting a pivotal three-run homer in Game 6 of the ALCS and another homer in Game 7.

And that was after a regular season in which he hit 17 homers and racked up 82 RBIs but led the AL with 177 strikeouts.

"As teammates of his, we're very happy with the way he approaches the game, the way he works, and just the kind of person he is," centerfielder Johnny Damon said. "I'm very happy for him getting three home runs in those last three games, three big home runs. Hopefully people start to take notice a bit more."

In his past five postseason games, Bellhorn is 7-for-19 with eight RBIs.

IT CAN'T ALL BE PERFECT: The Red Sox obviously have done a lot right in taking a 2-0 lead.

But they haven't been able to catch the ball.

The Sox made four errors - a record-tying three by third baseman Bill Mueller - for a second straight night, the first team to make that many in the first two games of a Series. Detroit made seven in the first two games in 1909 against Pittsburgh.

"Maybe four is our lucky number," manager Terry Francona said. "But I'd like to try it without it."

Francona said even though the Sox made the four errors, he didn't think they played poorly.

"It's almost snowing out there," he said. "The field is horrendous; it's wet and everything. We made some errors, but I don't really think we played a sloppy game."

Mueller is the 10th player to make three errors in a Series game.

In the past 20 years, two teams have committed as many as eight errors for a whole Series, the Yankees in 2001 and Marlins in 1997. The last team to make more than eight was the 1982 Brewers.

KIND OF OKAY: Tony Womack woke up Sunday feeling pretty bad. "Like I had been hit by truck, twice over," he said. "I was really stiff."

Womack was in the St. Louis lineup despite leaving Saturday's game after being hit on the collarbone by a bad-hop grounder.

The ball that knocked Womack out of the game scored a Boston run, which made it even worse. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said the Fenway Park groundskeeper apologized to him for the bad hop, but that didn't make Womack feel any better.

"Could they erase the run, too?" Womack said.

DIVING IN: For lack of a better term, Manny Ramirez stuck the landing while trying to make a sliding catch of Larry Walker 's eighth-inning line drive Saturday, leading to a two-base error and a round of laughs on the Boston bench. "There's no reason to get down on a guy for trying," outfielder Dave Roberts said. "He was just demoted from silver to bronze to green glove, that's all."

WORTH NOTING: The Red Sox have won six straight postseason games. ... Jason Varitek 's triple was the first by a catcher since New York Yankee Joe Girardi in 1996. ... The Cardinals have lost eight consecutive Series road games, dating to 1985. ... Ramirez extended his postseason hitting streak to 15 games. ... Saturday's game was the highest-scoring opener in Series history; the Yankees and Cubs combined for 18 runs in 1932.

MISCELLANY: Saturday's game got the highest TV rating for a Series opener since 1999, with an average of 23.1-million viewers. ... Several Sox players taped "Keep the Faith - Keep the Peace" public service announcements asking fans to refrain from out-of-control behavior.

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