The Red Sox are up one game to nothing in the 2013 World Series after blowing out the Cardinals out 8-1 in Fenway Park.
For the Red Sox, there was nothing more important than an early showing with the bats. Unlike with Detroit, the St. Louis bullpen is not a welcoming light at the end of the tunnel. To win in the World Series, the Red Sox were going to need to score against the rotation.
So what did they do? They scored three runs in the first, though they needed Dana DeMuth to come to his senses first. After a leadoff walk to Jacoby Ellsbury, a pair of line drives from Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia resulted in one hit and one out, putting two men on with one down for David Ortiz. He responded to the big situation...by hitting a ground ball right to second. It should have been an inning-ending double play, but Pete Kozma completely botched it, letting the throw clang off his glove for an error.
For a second, though, it seemed like Dana DeMuth was going to become the most recent umpire in the spotlight for an awful call, saying Pedroia was out with the drop on the transfer. John Farrell came out to argue, however, and the umpires got together, finally making what was clearly the right call: everyone safe, bases loaded. Three pitches later, and Mike Napoli drove a 2-0 offering to left-center, clearing the bases.
The Red Sox didn't relent in the second, and this time Wainwright himself was responsible for some of the questionable defense, allowing a leadoff pop-up to land between him and Yadier Molina after calling for it. David Ross singled to make it two men on, and while Jacoby Ellsbury wasn't able to join the party, another error from Kozma allowed Shane Victorino to load the bases once again. Dustin Pedroia hit a ground ball under the glove of a diving David Freese (though, really, the ball was close enough that it should have been an easy play), making it 4-0 and reloading the bases for David Ortiz.
This time, Ortiz did not threaten a double play. Quite the opposite. Launching a high fly ball, Ortiz sent Carlos Beltran back, back, and finally to the wall. But it was not a grand slam. Rather than going head-over-heels like Torii Hunter, Beltran calmly reached up, and made the play, robbing Ortiz of another huge homer, even if a fifth run still came in to score in the process.
The cost, however, might have been prohibitively high. In exchange for saving three runs, Beltran would leave the game and head to Mass. General. The collision wasn't that loud, but clearly enough to be damaging.
From there, the biggest fireworks were over. The Red Sox would have their offense quieted for much of the rest of the night as Adam Wainwright settled in, but with Jon Lester working out of a couple jams in the middle innings before finishing very strong, it wouldn't ever get tense. Instead, David Ortiz made the gap larger, getting the homer he missed out on in the second, this time well past the wall for two runs in the seventh, and a Xander Bogaerts sacrifice fly (line drive, really) was good for an eighth run. Only a Matt Holliday solo shot off Ryan Dempster marred an otherwise perfect night for the Red Sox.
It's just Game 1, but oh, what a convincing Game 1 it was.
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