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Early offense and Lester's arm gives Red Sox Game 1
Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Mike Napoli staked Jon Lester to an early lead in Game 1 of the World Series and the Red Sox lefty did the rest.
Lester limited the St. Louis Cardinals to five hits and struck out eight over 7 2/3 scoreless innings as Boston took the opener of the Fall Classic, 8-1, in front of an approving crowd at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox jumped on Adam Wainwright early via Napoli's three-run double in the first inning, and David Ortiz added a home run and three RBI in the rout -- Boston's ninth straight World Series victory.
St. Louis did not record an extra-base hit against Lester (1-0), committed three errors and lost All-Star slugger Carlos Beltran to a right rib contusion in the second inning when the right fielder robbed Ortiz of a grand slam.
X-rays and a CT scan came back negative, and Beltran is considered day-to-day.
Wainwright (0-1) only lasted five frames after getting touched for five runs -- three earned -- on six hits for the NL champs, whose only offense came on Matt Holliday's home run in the ninth.
"We went right after them. We pounded them in," said Lester, who became the third pitcher in World Series history to post scoreless starts in his first two Fall Classic outings. "We wanted to set the tone and get them swinging."
This is the fourth time these storied franchises have met in the Fall Classic. St. Louis won the first two in 1946 and 1967, and the Red Sox famously returned the favor in 2004 to end their 86-year title drought.
The Game 1 winner has won nine of the last 10 World Series, but St. Louis has an ace in the hole in Michael Wacha, who will start Game 2 on Thursday after giving up just one run in 21 innings this postseason. The Red Sox will counter will John Lackey.
Wacha hopes for a better World Series starting debut than Wainwright, who walked the first batter he faced and did not look like his 19-game winning self out of the gate.
After Dustin Pedroia singled with one out in the first, the Cardinals ace induced a potential inning-ending double-play ball off the bat of Ortiz, but Pete Kozma dropped Matt Carpenter's flip to the second-base bag.
Second base umpire Dana DeMuth caused a brief firestorm by ruling Kozma lost control on the exchange and Pedroia out at second as a result. Red Sox manager John Farrell sprung from the dugout to argue, and after an extended meeting with all six umpires, the call was reversed. Mike Matheny, who like Farrell is managing in his first World Series, went out for a heated exchange with the men in blue, but his appeal fell on deaf ears.
"What was explained was they wanted to get the call right. And they got together as a group, and five of them believed that the call was different than the one that was made," explained Matheny. "It's a pretty tough time to debut that over-ruled call in the World Series. Now, I get that trying to get the right call, I get that. Tough one to swallow."
With the bases now loaded, Napoli delivered a line drive into the left-field gap. A generous bounce off the Green Monster allowed Ortiz to score all the way from first after Jacoby Ellsbury and Pedroia easily crossed the plate.
Boston loaded the bases again in the second. Wainwright and his battery mate, Yadier Molina, stared at one another as Stephen Drew's pop up fell between them to start the inning. David Ross tacked on a single, and two batters later Kozma couldn't handle Shane Victorino's tough ground ball in the hole.
Following the error, Pedroia dribbled one past a diving David Freese to bring in a run, and Ortiz brought the crowd to its feet when he belted a pitch deep to right field. Beltran, though, casually made a grand slam-saving catch at the wall just as he ran into it, and Ross tagged up and scored for the AL champs.
In obvious pain after making the catch, Beltran went to the locker room the next half-inning, and Jon Jay took his place in the lineup. The Cardinals announced later Beltran was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
St. Louis had just one single through three innings and left five runners on the next two frames. Freese, the 2011 World Series MVP, hit into a 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded in the fourth, and Jay grounded out to strand a pair the next inning.
An error by Freese with two outs in the seventh kept the inning alive, and Ortiz greeted Kevin Siegrist with a shot into the right-field seats to make it a 7-0 game.
Red Sox rookie Xander Bogaerts added a sacrifice fly in the eighth before Holliday spoiled Boston's shutout bid with a no-doubter off Ryan Dempster.
For just the third time in MLB history, the teams squaring off in the World Series had identical records (97-65) during the regular season ... Boston swept the Cardinals and Rockies in the 2004 and '07 World Series, respectively ... Lester, who owns a 2.07 ERA in 10 postseason starts, became the third Red Sox left-hander to start Game 1 of a World Series, joining Babe Ruth (1918) and Bruce Hurst (1986). His five postseason wins are the most ever by a Boston lefty ... Ortiz matched Beltran with 16 career postseason home runs -- good for eighth all-time ... Allen Craig, playing for the first time since suffering a foot injury on Sept. 4, batted cleanup for St. Louis and went 1- for-4 ... Beltran was playing in his first World Series game after playing in 2,064 career regular season games ... Ortiz and Molina are the only holdovers from the 2004 World Series between these clubs ... Since 1993, every home team to win Game 1 has gone on to win the World Series.
10/24 00:18:57 ET
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