The 109th World Series opened tonight on the grand stage of Boston’s Fenway Park featuring two classic franchises, the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox. It was the Fall Classic with all the trimmings and the Red Sox got themselves off and running in Game 1 by easily beating the Cardinals 8-1 to take a 1-0 series lead.
The night got off to a rousing start as the Red Sox quickly chased Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in the bottom of the first inning with the help of a disputed play.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a walk and Dustin Pedroia singled with one out to put runners at first and second. David Ortiz then grounded into what looked like a certain double play. Except Cards second baseman Matt Carpenter‘s toss to shortstop Pete Kozma at the bag ticked off Kozma’s glove.
Second base umpire Dana DeMuth initially must have thought Kozma dropped it on the transfer and called Pedroia out on a force play. Out of the dugout came John Farrell to argue and eventually the umps got together and unanimously overruled DeMuth by saying Kozma never had the ball. This was confirmed by television replays, even though they were not used to change the call. Ultimately it was the correct call.
The miscue cost the Cardinals dearly as Mike Napoli stepped up next with the bases loaded and did what he’s done all season by promptly unloading them with a line drive, three-run double to the left center field gap to make it 3-0 Red Sox.
Things were not much better in the bottom of the second inning for the Cardinals.
Stephen Drew led off with a tall popup that dropped harmlessly between Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina for a very high single. David Ross then singled and, after Ellsbury flied out, Kozma made another error on a Shane Victorino grounder in the shortstop hole. Pedroia took advantage by singling in Drew to make it 4-0. That loaded the bases again, this time for Ortiz.
Ortiz almost put the game away as he crushed a deep drive to right that looked like a certain grand slam. Except Carlos Beltran was the one Cardinal that showed up to play some defense. He robbed Ortiz of the slam by running into the short wall and reaching over into the right field bullpen to make the catch. Ross did score on the sac fly to make it 5-0 and keep the score reasonable. Beltran, however, left the game with a right rib contusion, replaced by John Jay.
The otherwise bad Cardinals defense contributed to a poor outing by Wainwright, who allowed all five runs (three earned) on six hits, with a walk and four strikeouts in five innings and 95 pitches.
Meanwhile, Sox starter Jon Lester was cruising along until hitting a rough spot in the fourth inning. Jay walked to lead off, Matt Holliday struck out, then Allen Craig and Molina singled to load the bases. But Lester wiggled out of the mess by inducing a 1-2-3 double play from David Freese.
Lester also had to work hard in the fifth as Shane Robinson and Carpenter singled and moved up a base on a Jonny Gomes fielding error in left, putting runners at second and third with two out. But Lester again got out of it by getting Jay to ground to Napoli at first.
Overall, it was a dominant performance by Lester as he left after 7.2 innings allowing no runs on five hits with only one walk and eight strikeouts. It was an effort that Lester is beginning to make routine in the postseason.
In the seventh, Ortiz gave the Red Sox plenty of insurance with a two-run homer blasted into the Red Sox bullpen on the first pitch he saw from lefty fireballer Kevin Siegrist to make it 7-0.