ST. LOUIS — Cardinal outfielder Cesar Cedeno reached into his locker and grabbed a bottle of the beverage that makes Clydesdales dance and Gussie Busch rich.
"This Bud's for me," Cedeno said, twisting the top off his beer. "What do you want me to do, cry about it?"
There were no tears shed in the Cardinal clubhouse Thursday night. But there wasn't any champagne flowing, either, and that was the drink all of St. Louis expected to see Cedeno and the rest of the Cardinals quaffing after Game 5 of the World Series.
Instead, the Kansas City Royals broadsided the Busch beer wagon, 6-1, as left-hander Danny Jackson threw a five-hitter to force a sixth game Saturday night at Kansas City. The call once again on I-70 was, Westward, ho! as the Royal bandwagon sputtered back to life, even if there still are few passengers willing to believe this team can win it all.
"We didn't want to pack it in tonight," said Royal shortstop Buddy Biancalana after Kansas City cut the St. Louis lead to 3 games to 2. "I think the pressure is on them (the Cardinals). Everybody expects the Cardinals to win.
"It's always easier to play with your backs to the wall. Nobody expects us to win."
When this series began, nobody expected Biancalana to belong on the same field with Cardinal shortstop Ozzie Smith, most valuable player of the National League playoffs. Same field? Most people considered Biancalana lucky to be in the same state.
But in this series, Smith has been more tin man than wizard--say it ain't so, Toto--and Thursday night, he even made a throwing error that led to the Royals' fifth run.
And while Smith's bat, like the rest of the Cardinal offense, has disappeared somewhere between here and Oz--he has 1 hit in 16 at-bats amid St. Louis' .196 average as a team--Biancalana has an on-base percentage of .500, highest of any regular on either team.
It was Biancalana's ground-ball single through the right side in the second inning that scored Jim Sundberg on a contested play, one that turned the game the Royals' way. It was a photo finish, but umpire John Shulock ruled that Sundberg's belly-flop to the plate beat Cardinal catcher Tom Nieto's belly-flop tag.
"It sounds corny," said Nieto, who took Cedeno's throw from right field on the third-base side of the plate, "but I had my eye on the plate, and I tagged him (Sundberg) before his hand reached the plate."
Shulock said that Nieto tagged Sundberg in the foot after the Royal had touched the plate. Television replays were inconclusive.
The run gave the Royals a 2-1 lead and kept alive an inning that ultimately became fatal to the Cardinals when Willie Wilson tripled home two more runs off Bob Forsch, who may have been game as a stand-in starter for sore-elbowed Danny Cox but was going, going, gone after Wilson's hit.
The St. Louis bullpen by committee, as usual, wrapped the Royals in red tape, for the most part, after Forsch departed. Todd Worrell struck out all six batters he faced, and in all, 15 Royals went out on strikes.
But the Cardinals could do nothing against Jackson, who was beaten by Cedeno's broken-bat double in Game 1 but was unbeatable this time after allowing consecutive doubles by Tommy Herr and Jack Clark in the first inning.
"I felt a little weird on the mound the first three innings," said Jackson, who, weird or not, still managed to get Tito Landrum to pop out with the bases loaded to end the third.
"But after that, I was comfortable."
The Cardinals' lack of offensive production--they scored just five runs in three games at home, where they had the best record in the league--had Manager Whitey Herzog feeling mighty uncomfortable.
"Too much Danny Jackson," he said. "We haven't hit the ball too hard against him in two games. We're not really hitting anybody right now.
"They (the Royals) have got great pitching, but every so often, you'd think we'd hit the ball once in a while."
The Cardinals really haven't hit since Clark broke Tom Lasorda's heart in Los Angeles.
"I'll give credit to a couple of their guys," Cedeno said, "but I know I'm not a .077 hitter."
At the moment, however, that's exactly what he is.
"We didn't want to go back to Kansas City," Cedeno said, "but now we have to go. We're not going out there thinking we're going to lose."
Someone mentioned to Kansas City Manager Dick Howser that when the Royals started the night, they had the Cardinals just where they wanted them--ahead 3 games to 1, just as Toronto had been ahead in the American League playoffs.
"Saberhagen said that," Howser said with a smile, referring to 20-game winner Bret Saberhagen, who would pitch a seventh game if the Series goes that far.
"I hope he gets a shot at it. I hope he lives up to his quotes."
The Royals, left for dead so many times, may give Saberhagen that chance.
"What keeps us coming back is that World Series ring," Wilson said. "We want to win it. . . . We're not meant to die. We're a team of destiny."