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CABRERA STICKS IT TO CARDS PITCHERS

The Red Sox count on shortstop Orlando Cabrera for his glove. And while the rest of their defense has been of the Swiss cheese variety -- as in full of holes -- Cabrera has not made any of Boston's eight errors in the World Series.

What he has done is extend his postseason hitting streak to nine games and continue to confound opposing pitching.

"It's the biggest moment for us, and I'm having a great time," Cabrera said after his two-run single off the Green Monster capped Boston's scoring in its 6-2 win over St. Louis on Sunday night in Fenway Park.

Cabrera, a .294 hitter for the Sox after a July 31 trade with Montreal, is batting .300 in the postseason and .351 during his hitting streak. Cabrera and Cardinals shortstop Edgar Renteria are from Colombia, and state television is broadcasting the Series back to their homeland for the first time.

"It's big in our country, really big right now," Cabrera said. "I have a radio reporter friend staying with me, and we haven't lost since he got here. Renteria saw him and said, 'Hey, I know you're helping him out.' It was pretty funny."

As for Cabrera's other friends? Well, he's a little busy right now and not all that reachable.

"I don't have a cell phone, and I know I'm the only big leaguer without one," he joked. "I hate cell phones. I reach people. I don't want people reaching me."

St. Louis second baseman Tony Womack was in the lineup despite getting rocked on the collarbone in the series opener by David Ortiz's bad-hop grounder.

Fenway Park groundskeepers apologized to Cardinals manager Tony La Russa for the hop, although La Russa wasn't upset about it even though it came with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh with the score tied, 7-7. Mark Bellhorn scored on the play, which keyed a two-run inning.

"We were playing four of five steps in the dirt. We really weren't in," La Russa said prior to Sunday's game. "We had a chance to get a double play or throw a guy out at the plate, but the ball was hit very hard and it ate up (Womack). A double play would have been a nice momentum thing for us."

"Did they erase that score they got with that run, too?" Womack said. "It's OK. It happens. It's baseball. . . . That's how the ball bounces. Off my collarbone and everything."

The Cardinals were cheating in against Ortiz, trying to cut off a run at the plate, and the ball hit the lip of the infield where the grass meets the dirt. Had Womack been playing at normal depth, it would have been a routine play.

Instead, it ricocheted wildly and pounded him in the left collarbone. X-rays were negative, but Womack said he was still in pain.

"I feel like I've been hit by a truck twice over," Womack said. "It was really stiff but I'm playing. I've got all of next week to rest and all winter to heal. You don't get many chances to play in the World Series, and I'm not going to let this slow me down.

"(Team doctors) compared it to a stinger in football. The biggest thing that really hurt is when I got hit I kind of lost feeling in my fingers and my arm. That didn't feel too good."

It's been a tough postseason for Womack, who is battling severe back spasms on a daily basis.

"Man, I've done everything for them," he said. "The biggest thing I try to do for myself is just try to forget it once I get between the white lines."

Sox manager Terry Francona on his team's free-spirited nature that includes long hair, beards and the self-imposed nickname of "The Idiots": "If this was Cub Scout Troop 14, I'd ask them to cut their hair. It's not. We're trying to play the best baseball that we can. These guys have come together as a ballclub. If it's the hair thing or whatever, that's not important."

Added outfielder Johnny Damon: "We try to eliminate the thinking and we've tried to let our natural abilities take over. So I think that's why the phrase about the idiots kind of took off. But we don't think. If we use our brains, we're only hurting the team."

Manny Ramirez's sixth-inning single extended his postseason hitting streak to 15 games, but the Boston cleanup man still has just two RBIs in the last nine games. . . . The teams bolted for charter flights after Sunday's game en route to St. Louis. . . . La Russa said Jeff Suppan will start Game Three on Tuesday in St. Louis and Jason Marquis should still be able to go in Game Four on Wednesday even though he pitched an inning of relief Sunday. The Red Sox previously slotted Pedro Martinez for Game Three and Derek Lowe for Game Four. . . . Saturday night's 11-9 Boston victory in Game One lasted exactly four hours, making it the third-longest nine-inning affair in Series history. The only ones longer were Toronto's 15-14 win at Philadelphia in 1993 (4:14) and Florida's 14-11 win at Cleveland in 1997 (4:02). Sunday's game was 3:20.
e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com