The Boston Red Sox struck the first blow of the 2013 World Series with an emphatic 8-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Mike Napoli, David Ortiz and pitcher Jon Lester were the stars at Fenway Park, with the visitors after nothing more than pride following a calamitous first two innings.
After Shane Victorino walked and Dustin Pedroia singled, an errant David Ortiz swing appeared to offer the Cards an opportunity for a double play.
However, shortstop Pete Kozma produced the first of two individual errors on the night, failing to control the ball at second or complete a throw back to first for a double play. The umpire had initially ruled Pedroia out at second base, but that call was correctly reversed after an on-field meeting.
The bases were now loaded with just one out, and Mike Napoli picked up two RBI’s with his line-drive double. Ortiz scored on another error as the fielders struggled to get the ball back to the diamond, and the damage was done.
Lester then struck out two and forced a ground out from Matt Adams, before more batting damage followed at the bottom of the second.
Stephen Drew got on base when catcher Yadier Molina failed to react to a pop-up, and David Ross advanced him with a single. Victorino then got on base after another Kozma error, before Dustin Pedroia got an RBI and loaded the bases with a single.
Ortiz was then inches away from a grand slam, only to be robbed by Carlos Beltran at the wall. His effort was still an RBI on a sacrifice fly, and the Red Sox were suddenly 5-0 up.
The hosts added three more runs in the seventh and eighth innings – one a homer off the bat of Ortz – as the rout continued.
Matt Holliday got his side on the board with his own solo homer at the top of the ninth, but it made little difference and the Cardinals will need to improve drastically if they are to compete with the in-form Red Sox.
Game Two is tonight (Thursday) at 7:30pm Eastern.