The Indians found the best way to escape the cold and snow: Send the World Series back to Florida.
Yes, baseball's not supposed to be played in weather like this.Sure, shorts and shirt sleeves are preferable to skicaps and scarves.
So the Indians got their wish with Wednesday night's 10-3 victory over the Marlins, which tied the best-of-7 Series at 2-all. The title will be decided this weekend in the warmth of Miami's Pro Player Stadium, but not until Thursday night's Game 5 is played in Cleveland.
"It was the coldest I've pitched in," said Jaret Wright, who allowed three runs in six innings to win only the sixth Series matchup of rookie starters.
It was 38 degrees when the first pitch was thrown, the coldest for a Series game since temperature records started in 1975. The wind chill was 18, and snow flurries fluttered throughout the night. Even the Indians' mascot wore a Santa cap.
"Let it snow, let it snow," Sandy Alomar sang in the interview room after getting three of Cleveland's 15 hits and driving in three runs.
On Tuesday night, Florida had taken a 2-1 lead with a 14-11 win, winning a game that most called ugly.
Cleveland didn't let the loss snowball, getting ahead in the first on a two-run homer by Manny Ramirez and an RBI double by Alomar. The Indians made it 6-0 in the third and, after Florida closed to 6-3, pulled away with a run in the sixth, another in the seventh and Matt Williams' two-run homer in the eighth.
"That was important to get going early in the game," said Williams, who went 3-for-3 with two walks. "That goes back to putting pressure on the other team. That was huge. That set the tone from the beginning."
Wright, at 21 the youngest starting pitcher in the Series since Bret Saberhagen in 1985, showed why Cleveland promoted him from Double-A to the majors in the last half-year. He is 3-0 in the postseason and 9-0 this season when pitching after an Indians' loss.
"He's everything I heard and more," Marlins manager Jim Leyland said. "He has all the ingredients for being a great one from what I saw."
Brian Anderson followed Sanders with three innings of shutout relief, allowing just one hit and facing one batter over the minimum. He's been an Indians' fan all his life, growing up in Geneva, Ohio, and now he was helping his team move within two wins of its first Series title since 1948.
"Once I got out there, I couldn't tell if I was in Cleveland or Timbuktu," Anderson said. "I just wanted to get guys out."
While Cleveland's rookies shined, Florida's Tony Saunders failed to come through, allowing six runs and seven hits in two-plus innings. Thirty-five of his 68 pitches were called balls.
"I never gave my team a chance," Saunders said. "They were very patient hitters. I didn't throw many strikes, and they swung at nothing but strikes."
Florida tried to come back with Jim Eisenreich's RBI single in the fourth and Moises Alou's two-run homer in the sixth, but Anderson made sure this lead wouldn't be wasted, not like the 7-3 advantage Cleveland squandered in Game 3.
Williams capped the big night with a long homer into the plaza behind the left-field seats, becoming only the seventh player to homer in the Series for teams in both leagues. Williams, who won his fourth Gold Glove earlier in the day, hit just .125 in the 1989 Series for San Francisco and had been 4-for-14 in this Series without an extra-base hit.
"It's probably been the toughest year I've ever been through - inconsistent professionally, tough personally," said Williams, who went through a divorce. "It hasn't been good."
Now the focus shifts tonight to Cleveland's Orel Hershiser and Florida's Livan Hernandez, who will reprise the matchup from Game 1, won by Florida 7-4.
"All the hard work seems to be paying off so far," Alomar said. "We've been down before, and we have come back."
His teammates, in Alomar's view, are pretty resilient.
"They forget about the losses, the bad games," he said. "They come back the next day and say, `Forget it.' "
If Cleveland could get over the Game 3 loss, ignoring the weather Wednesday night was no problem at all.
(Series tied 2-2)
Game 1: Florida 7, Cleveland 4
Game 2: Cleveland 6, Florida 1
Game 3: Florida 14, Cleveland 11
Game 4: Cleveland 10, Florida 3
Game 5: Thursday, Florida (Hernandez 9-3) at Cleveland (Hershiser 14-6), 6:20 p.m.
Game 6: Saturday, Cleveland at Florida, 6 p.m.
Game 7*: Sunday, Cleveland at Florida, 5:35 p.m.
*-if necessary. All games on Ch. 5.
Indians 10, Marlins 3
ab r h bi ab r h bi
DWhite cf 4 0 0 0 Roberts lf 4 0 1 0
Rnteria ss 4 0 1 0 Giles lf 1 0 1 1
Shffield rf 3 0 0 0 Vizquel ss 5 2 2 0
Bonilla 3b 4 0 0 0 Rmirez rf 4 2 1 2
Daulton 1b 3 2 2 0 Justice dh 3 2 1 0
Alou lf 3 1 1 2 MaWm 3b 3 3 3 2
Esnrich dh 2 0 2 1 SAlmr c 5 0 3 3
AArias ph 1 0 0 0 Thome 1b 4 0 1 0
CJhnsn c 4 0 0 0 TFrndz 2b 5 1 2 1
Cunsell 2b 2 0 0 0 Grssom cf 4 0 0 0
Abbott ph 1 0 0 0
Totals 31 3 6 3 Totals 38 10 15 9
Florida 000 102 000- 3
Cleveland 303 001 12x-10
E-Renteria Saunders DP-Cleveland 2. LOB-Florida 6, Cleveland 10. 2B-Daulton Roberts SAlomar HR-Alou Ramirez MaWilliams SB-Counsell Vizquel CS-Giles
IP H R ER BB SO
Saunders L,0-1 2 7 6 6 3 2
Alfonseca 3 3 0 0 0 4
Vosberg 2 3 2 2 2 1
Powell 1 2 2 2 1 0
JrWright W,1-0 6 5 3 3 5 5
BrAnderson S,1 3 1 0 0 0 2
Saunders pitched to 5 batters in the 3rd.
Umpires-Home, Kosc; First, Marsh; Second, Kaiser; Third, Montague; Left, Ford; Right, West.
T-3:15. A-44,877 (43,863).