The weather at Jacobs Field hasn't hurt the Cleveland Indians' bats the last two nights.
The Tribe has scored 21 runs since the World Series returned from Florida, and the Indians evened the proceedings at two wins apiece with Wednesday's 10-3 romp played through intermittent snow.
Yes, snow. More on that in a minute.
The pivotal Game Five is set for tonight (8; Ch. 2, Radio 710 and 1520). Cleveland's Orel Hershiser meets Florida's Livan Hernandez in a rematch of the Game One starters.
The Indians collected 15 hits and scored in double figures for the second straight night. They have 50 hits in the series and are batting .340.
Matt Williams reached base in all five at-bats with two singles, two walks and a two-run homer in the eighth to clinch the win. Sandy Alomar went 3 for 5 with three RBIs and Manny Ramirez belted a two-run homer in the first to kick-start the Cleveland offense.
"We have to be as aggressive as we can, regardless of who we're playing or any situation we're facing," Williams said. "You want to be aggressive at bat, go first to third on the bases, do the things that put pressure on the other team."
You would think it was a hot and humid night in July the way the Indians were spraying the ball around the park.
No way. The game-time temperature of 38 degrees made it the coldest Series game since baseball began keeping weather records in the '70s. A 16-mph wind produced a chill factor of 18 degrees. And it was snowing.
The flakes started during the Indians' batting practice and left most observers on the field looking to the sky. Cleveland's Omar Vizquel took his cuts wearing a blue ski cap and a full red face mask.
The white stuff started flying for real as the Marlins were taking batting practice 90 minutes before the first pitch. This was no flurry either. It was a five-minute squall befitting the best of winter in southern Erie County.
A recording of "Let It Snow" blared over the public-address system, and it was appropriate. The weather outside was frightful enough for a football game, not baseball's Fall Classic. Not since 1979 in Baltimore had snow made an appearance at the World Series.
"Yesterday's game, our bodies were getting acclimated," Alomar said of Tuesday's 14-11 Florida victory. "There's no excuse. Both teams are playing in the same kind of weather. I felt better tonight, because my body has adjusted to it. I'm from Puerto Rico, so I'm used to 85 degrees and humidity."
The Indians heated up the crowd of 44,877 with a three-run first off Florida starter Tony Saunders. Omar Vizquel singled with one out and Ramirez promptly lashed a 1-0 pitch over the right-field fence for an opposite field home run and a 2-0 lead.
After David Justice struck out, Williams singled and Alomar doubled him home with a drive into the left-center gap.
That was the cushion needed for Cleveland starter Jaret Wright, who allowed five hits in six innings and improved to 9-0 in games after an Indians' loss this year.
"It was so cold, the worst I've ever felt on the mound," said the 21-year-old Wright. "The ball kept slipping in your hand but you had to stay with your plan and attack hitters. You have to remember it was like that for everybody."
The Marlins made two errors in a three-run third that put the Indians in command, 6-0. Edgar Renteria's throwing error on Justice's infield single allowed Ramirez to score the first run and the others scored on RBI singles by Alomar and Tony Fernandez.
"Saunders has pretty good stuff," Alomar said. "He had a good changeup and breaking ball. We just happened to rally early."
The Marlins tried to rally in the middle innings. Jim Eisenreich's single in the fourth scored Darren Daulton with the first Florida run and Moises Alou's two-run homer to left in the sixth cut the gap to 6-3.
Enter Brian Anderson. The left-hander has spent his whole career as a starter, including 20 victories the last two years in Buffalo, but is finding a new niche as a reliever in the postseason. He went three innings for the first save of his professional career, allowing just one hit and lowering his October ERA to a svelte 1.86.
"That's the second time Brian's picked me up big," Wright said of Anderson, who helped Wright off the hook of a 5-2 deficit in Game Four of the ALCS against Baltimore. "I'm probably going to have to take him out to dinner or something like that."
With the crowd getting uneasy fearing a second straight Marlins comeback, the Tribe eased their fans' worries thanks to Anderson's pitching and single runs off Ed Vosberg in the sixth and seventh and Williams' homer in the eighth.
Alomar drove in the first run by beating out a bases-loaded grounder to third after Bobby Bonilla stepped on third base for the first out. An RBI single by Brian Giles scored the Cleveland run in the seventh.
Giles entered the game in the top of the inning for Bip Roberts, who left because he was battling flu-like symptoms. Bip must have forgotten to wear his hat and gloves on a night not fit for baseball.
His teammates, however, didn't forget their hitting shoes.