Game 1: Boston 8, St. Louis 1

Red Sox hammer Cardinals at Fenway to take 1-0 lead in the Series

The Red Sox and their fans celebrated in the first inning at Fenway Park in Game 1.
(Barry Chin / Globe Staff)
by Steve Silva,

Maybe they are the '04 Cardinals after all.

The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals, 8-1, in Game 1 of the World Series behind the strong starting pitching of Jon Lester, big hits by Mike Napoli and David Ortiz,, and some sloppy defensive play by St. Louis.

The Sox started grinding away and pushing runs across early on Adam Wainwright while Jon Lester held the Cardinals scoreless through 7-2/3 innings with a fastball that topped out at 95 m.p.h. 

Lester spoke about the Cardinals trying to be aggressive in their at-bats to start the game.

"We know how aggressive they can be at times," Lester said. "And late in the game they tried to slow some things down and take some pitches after that.  So we wanted to set the tone and get them swinging.  That's important for my game as far as getting that fastball and cutter involved, and make sure that they're not able to just lock in and key on certain areas on me."

Lester finished the night giving up just five hits, no runs, a walk, and eight strikeouts throwing 112 pitches before Junichi Tazawa relieved him. The postseason career-high eight batters Lester fanned through seven innings ties Bruce Hurst for the most by a Red Sox lefthander in the World Series. With 7-2/3 scoreless innings tonight, Lester lowered his 2013 postseason ERA to 1.67. 

"I think the way they came out aggressively swinging at his fastball early in the count," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "I thought he and David did a very good job of getting his curveball in the mix a little bit more, to create a little more separation in his pitches in terms of velocity.  Once he was able to establish that, I thought he had a very good cutter, particularly some backdoor cutters to some righthanders. And the key to me was the double play in that fourth inning.  Come‑backer to him, the 1‑2‑3 double play.  And as he got deeper into the game, he got his change‑up in the mix a little more.  Just a solid, solid outing by Jon tonight."

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was not surprised by Lester's strong outing.

"He kept us off balance all night," Matheny said of Lester's performance. "It's what we expected."

David Ortiz belted his fourth home run of the postseason with a runner aboard in the seventh inning to give the Red Sox a 7-0 lead. With two outs, Dustin Pedroia reached on a fielding error by Cardinals third baseman David Freese. After a pitching change, Ortiz crushed the first pitch he saw from lefthander Kevin Siegrist.

It was Ortiz's fourth homer this postseason, one shy of the club record for a single postseason (5 by Todd Walker in 2003 and Ortiz in 2004). The homer marked the 16th time Ortiz has gone deep in his career during the postseason. The home run was also the first lefthanded batter to hit one out off Siegrist after 84 lefty batters failed to homer off the Cardinals reliever.

The Red Sox extended the lead to 8-0 when Xander Bogaerts drove in his first postseason run of his career. Bogaerts hit a sac fly to knock in Daniel Nava, who doubled and went to third on a wild pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning.

St. Louis got on the board in the ninth inning when Matt Holliday took Ryan Dempster deep to make it 8-1.

The offensive onslaught started early for Boston.

Jacoby Ellsbury walked to start the first inning. Pedroia moved him to second with a base hit. Pedroia was then called out at second base after Ortiz grounded to Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter who threw over to shortstop Peter Kozma to force Ortiz at second. Although Pedroia was originally called out on the play, it was clear that Kozma never had control of the throw from Carpenter. After the umpires huddled, the bad call by umpire Dana DeMuth was reversed. That left the bases loaded and one out for Mike Napoli who cleared the bases on a line shot to left-center. The double gave Boston the early 3-0 lead.

"I think we're a confident group, no matter what," Napoli said. "But I think you've got to take advantage of the opportunities you get in a game.  We've been able to do that all playoffs.  And that's what it's about.  A lot of things went right for us, but we've got to take advantage of those opportunities and we did."

The call that was turned over was key to the Red Sox getting off to a big start. 

"I thought from the dugout view it was pretty clear that that ball just tipped off the fingertips of his glove," Farrell said.  "I think we're fully accepting of the neighborhood play, but my view is that it wasn't even that.  There was really no entry into the glove with the ball.  And to their credit they did confer, and I think the one thing is we just strive to get the call correct.  And I think based on their group conversation, surprisingly, to a certain extent, they overturned it and I think got the call right."

Pedroia was equally as pleased that the correct call prevailed.

"I was just trying to slide in there and break up two," Pedroia said. "I saw [the drop] wasn't on the transfer... I'm glad they got it right."

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny wanted the original out call to stand.

"I know they're trying to get the call right," Matheny said. "But that's a tough one to swallow."

In the second inning, the Cardinals helped the Red Sox get rolling again.

Stephen Drew popped up to the infield but Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina let the ball drop between them for a base hit. David Ross then followed with a line single to right. After Ellsbury flied out to left, Shane Victorino reached on an error by Kozma to load the bases for the second consecutive inning. Pedroia then singled on a ground ball past third baseman David Freese to drive in Boston's fourth run of the game.

David Ortiz then took Wainwright deep -- right near the spot where he took Torii Hunter over the wall for the game-tying grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS -- but this time Ortiz was denied by Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran, who snagged the ball as it was headed over the wall. David Ross scored on the sac fly to make it 5-0 Red Sox.

Beltran came out of the game with what was described as an right rib contusion after the tough catch. He was taken to the hospital to be examined further. The CT scan on Beltran came back negative and he is listed as "day to day."

The Cardinals put together a bases-loaded rally of their own in the fourth inning. John Jay, who replaced Beltran in the lineup, started the inning with a walk. Singles by Allen Craig and Molina loaded the bases but the inning ended without the Cardinals scoring when Freese hit into a 1-2-3 double play.

Wainwright gave way to John Axford after five innings. Wainwright gave up five runs on the night, three earned, six hits, a walk, and four strikeouts. 

Axford came in and struck out Bogaerts, Drew, and Ross in the sixth. 

John Lackey squares off against Cardinals red-hot rookie Michael Wacha in Game 2, Thursday night.

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