Take a bow, Johnny Lester. With his 7 2/3 inning, 5 hit, no runs, 1 walk, 8 strikeout performance in tonight’s Game One, Lester joined the great Bob Gibson as the only two pitchers with 7+ innings pitched with no runs, 1 walk and 8+ strikeouts in Game One of the Fall Classic. Also of note, he became just the 60th pitcher in Major League Baseball history to make 10 or more postseason starts, and his earned run average in those 10 starts now sits at third all-time at 2.07, just ahead of another pitcher familiar to Red Sox fans in Curt Schilling. As great as Lester was, and don’t get me wrong he was the player of the game, the Red Sox capitalized on every Cardinals mistake this evening to take the first game of the 2013 World Series. It started early after a botched pretty routine double play ball misfielded by Pete Kozma in the first inning that led to the inning being extended and Mike Napoli taking advantage with a 3-run beard tugging double to jump out to an early lead. The normally sure fielding Kozma (who is the Cardinals best defensive option at the position) would make another error later in the game, and the Red Sox fans in attendance also couldn’t help but laugh when Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina let another easy popup fall between them to allow Stephen Drew to reach base.
While the Cardinals looked sloppy at every turn this evening, the Red Sox thoroughly outplayed and outclassed them for all nine innings. With the exception of Matt Holliday’s absolute bomb to dampen Ryan Dempster’s World Series debut, the only other Cardinal player who even looked like he wanted to win tonight was former Seminole Shane Robinson who earned the start in center field and was later moved to right field to replace Carlos Beltran who bruised his ribs robbing what would have been another Big Papi grand slam (it still went for a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-0). Ortiz got his revenge later (again the 7th inning) with a 408 foot blast to right-center field that also scored Dustin Pedroia to make the score 7-0 and place the game more out of reach.
Tonight’s final was 8-1 Red Sox, with Game Two scheduled for the same place and time tomorrow evening. Tomorrow, Michael Wacha (4-1, 2.78 ERA this year) will face John Lackey (a deceptive 10-13, 3.52 ERA) in a game that basically will become a do-or-die game for Mike Matheny’s Cardinals.
Down by the river…