Snow will do that to shortstop. Renteria made

Associated Press Published:

Snow will do that to shortstop.

Renteria made a costly throwing error in the third inning of Wednesday night's game, helping Cleveland build a key rally as the Indians defeated Florida 10-3 to deadlock the Series at 2-2.

Snow flurries that began falling during batting practice left the infield as slippery as a skating rink.

"It was wet the whole time," Renteria said. "The conditions were really bad. I've played on worse fields, but never on one as slippery as this was."

Cleveland had roughed up Marlins starter Tony Saunders for three runs in the first inning, and when Manny Ramirez opened the third with a walk, the Indians were looking for more.

Saunders, still rattled from his shaky start, tried to pick off Ramirez and threw the ball away, allowing the runner to advance. Now he worked carefully to designated hitter David Justice, who hit the ball to deep shortstop.

Renteria reached the ball as Ramirez advanced to third, but then the shortstop skidded on the dirt as he began his throw.

"The ground was very wet," Renteria said. "I went to plant my foot but I slipped and lost my balance."

The ball sailed past first baseman Darren Daulton and into the photographers' well behind the base. The ground rule gave both runners an extra base, so Ramirez trotted home from third and Justice moved on to second.

The error was uncharacteristic for Renteria, a sure-handed, sound defensive player with a strong arm and good range. The scouting report does not account for playing in snow, though.

It was the beginning of a long, wet night for the shortstop that began with snow flurries falling during batting practice when players from both teams wore knit hats and "Winter Wonderland" played on the loud speakers.

The game started in 38-degree temperatures with a wind chill of 18. Renteria said the cold was not a problem, but the footing at shortstop never got better.

It was the second night in a row that a run scored after a throw landed in the photographers' section. During Game 3, Marquis Grissom's throw to third hit Bobby Bonilla's shoulder as he slid into the bag, then bounced into the pit behind third base.

By the time the Indians were through, they had three runs in the inning and a 6-0 lead that Florida could not overcome.

Renteria is one of the better fielding shortstops in the National League. He made just 17 errors on 674 chances during the regular season and his .975 fielding average was sixth best in the NL. Last year, as a rookie, he had just 11 misplays in 519 chances.

There were three walks and three hits as well, but the throwing errors by Saunders and Renteria were the centerpieces of the inning that put the Indians in charge.

Manager Jim Leyland put it bluntly. "We had a little bit of an ugly inning there," he said.

Ugly and wet.

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