Cardinals crave home sweet home effect as Series shifts

Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:18pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - The Cardinals went from a team beginning to wobble on the ropes to an optimistic outfit looking to turn home field advantage into a knockout punch as the World Series shifts to St. Louis.

With the best-of-seven series tied 1-1, the Fall Classic has turned into a best-of-five with the next three games in the Gateway City, starting with Game Three on Saturday.

"I don't think there's one thing that would make our team any more effective in this park than any other," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny told reporters at Busch Stadium on Friday when asked why his team has thrived at home.

"There's just that comfort of being at home. And you have your home fans behind you. It's going to be an exciting atmosphere. Tomorrow it's going to be loud and the guys thrive on that."

A two-run homer by David Ortiz in the sixth inning on Thursday looked to put the Cards in precarious position trailing the Boston Red Sox 2-1 in Game Two, before a three-run rally in the seventh led to a 4-2 St. Louis win that evened the series.

"Being down 0-2, statistically I'm sure that's a tough feat to come back from," Cardinals third baseman David Freese said. "But 1-1 is going to feel good."

Freese was right. Visiting teams that dropped the first two games of a World Series have ended up winning the Major League Baseball title only seven times in 37 chances.

The Cardinals were 54-27 at home this season and since the club moved into the new Busch Stadium eight years ago they have amassed the most home-wins in the National League.   Continued...

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny (22) talks with the media during a press conference a day before game three of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports