While a green smudge on Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester’s glove and a corrected reverse call on a St. Louis error committed during Boston’s quick 3-0 rally in the first inning made headlines after Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday, two things were very clear.
Boston was ready for the Fall Classic. St. Louis was not.
The Red Sox feasted on three St. Louis errors and scored eight runs – three unearned – while blasting the Cardinals 8-1 Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Boston led 5-0 after two innings and 8-0 after eight innings for St. Louis broke up the shutout with a leadoff homer from Matt Holliday in the ninth.
Lester finished pitched 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball for the Red Sox, scattering five hits and walk with eight strikeouts. He pitched with control, throwing 112 pitches and 76 for strikes.
Lester struck out four batters in the first three innings and worked out of a bases loaded jam with in the top of the fourth inning when he got David Freese to bounce into an inning-ending double play. Lester caught the grounder, fired home and got the double play at first base. The 1-2-3 double play written in the scorebook was symbolic of how easy the night was for Boston.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the bottom of the first with a walk and after Shane Victorino lined out to left, Dustin Pedroia singled to center field. David Ortiz hit a grounder to second baseman Matt Carpenter who had a bit of trouble getting the ball out of his glove to start a double play. Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma swept over second base to catch the ball and fire to first but he dropped the ball. Second base umpire Dana DeMuth originally ruled Pedroia out at second base because Kozma was transferring the ball to throw after the out but after Red Sox manager John Farrell conference the umpires, who then huddled up and correctly called Pedroia safe at second base, loading the bags with one out. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny argued to no avail.
Mike Napoli then stepped in and doubled to deep center field, clearing all three runners – including a rumbling slide from Ortiz – for the 3-0 lead.
The second inning was just as strange for the Cardinals. Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew hit a pop up to the pitcher’s mound but Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina raced to cover the play and had a miscommunication with Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. The ball bounced between the pitcher and catcher and Drew reached first base on the single. Kozma then committed another error, mishandling a grounder from Victorino with one out. The error loaded the bases again and Pedroia singled to score Drew for a 4-0 lead. Boston then led 5-0 when Ortiz scored David Ross on a sacrifice fly to right field. The scorebook was a little deceiving on the play, which Ortiz nearly knocked the pitch out of right field for a grand slam before Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran leaped and collided with the wall to rob Ortiz of the homer and an 8-0 lead. Beltran would leave the game the next inning.
St. Louis loaded the bases again in the fifth inning – thanks to a Boston error – but John Jay grounded out to shortstop to end the threat.
Boston’s sluggers ultimately prevailed in Game 1. David Ortiz hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and finished 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs while Napoli had 3 RBIs on his double. The bottom half of the lineup chipped in as well with singles from Drew, Ross and a pinch-hit single from Daniel Nava.
St. Louis looks to rebound and take home field advantage at 8:07 p.m. Thursday night for Game 2. Cardinals rookie sensation Michael Wacha is on the bump while the Red Sox turn to John Lackey, who last took the mound in Game 3 of the ALCS where he outdueled Detroit’s Justin Verlander.