The Red Sox have drawn first blood.
Boston claimed Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 at Fenway Park.
It was a narrow affair most of the night, but with a 5-4 Red Sox lead in the seventh, pinch-hitter Eduardo Nunez busted the game open with a three-run blast. It was the biggest of many timely hits throughout the night.
The battle of aces didn’t really live up to expectations, as both Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw were yanked before recording an out in the fifth inning.
The Red Sox now lead the series 1-0.
Here’s how it went down:
GAME IN A WORD
One swing of the bat effectively ended the game, but that wasn’t indicative of the whole contest. Things were level-pegging between the two sides most of the night.
ON THE BUMP
— It seldom was smooth sailing, but Sale gave the Red Sox a chance to win. Over four-plus innings, the ace allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Sale couldn’t have gotten off to a much better start, striking out the first two hitters he faced to begin the game. The southpaw allowed a two-out single to David Freese, but got Manny Machado to fly out to end the inning.
With a 2-0 Red Sox lead in tow entering the second, the Dodgers got one back. Matt Kemp worked an eight-pitch at-bat against Sale, and on that fateful eighth pitch he drilled a 94-mph fastball left right over the plate into the Green Monster seats.
Sale allowed a walk later in the inning, but got out of the frame without further damage.
In the third, however, the Dodgers locked things up. With one out, Justin Turner, Freese and Machado all rattled off singles, with the latter of the three scoring Turner from second to tie the game at two.
With two runners still on, Sale bounced back, posting a strikeout and groundout to end the inning.
After a chaotic third, Sale tossed his best inning of the night of the fourth. He retired the side in order, striking out two. The southpaw came back out for the fifth, but after issuing a leadoff walk to Brian Dozier, Sale was pulled.
— Matt Barnes took over for Sale and immediately allowed a single to Turner. After fanning Freese for the first out, runners moved to scoring position when a blocked ball by Sandy Leon got away. Machado grounded out to second, scoring Dozier in the process to knot things up at three. Barnes then got pinch-hitter Cody Bellinger to fly out to right to end the inning.
— Joe Kelly entered in the sixth and tossed a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two.
— Ryan Brasier started the seventh and got into some trouble.
The righty got Joc Pederson to ground out to start the stanza, but allowed singles to pinch-hitter Max Muncy and Turner, respectively. He then walked pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal to load the bases, with Machado hitting a sacrifice fly to center field afterward to score Muncy and cut Boston’s lead to 5-4. Machado’s sac fly resulted in Brasier getting pulled.
— Eduardo Rodriguez relieved Brasier and got Bellinger to fly out to end the seventh with Boston’s one-run lead still in tact.
— Nathan Eovaldi was given the ball in the eighth and looked sharp. He induced three groundouts in a 1-2-3 inning.
— The Red Sox turned to Craig Kimbrel in the ninth and he closed the door, striking out two in a clean frame.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox came out of the gate firing.
Mookie Betts singled to lead things off in the bottom half of the first, and immediately stole second base. Andrew Benintendi responded by roping a single to right, bringing across Betts. Yasiel Puig decided to launch the ball home, which allowed Benintendi to get to second.
J.D. Martinez then smacked a single to left, which plated Benintendi and put Boston ahead 2-0.
— With the game locked up at two in the third, the Red Sox went back ahead.
Steve Pearce grounded into what looked like an inning-ending double play. Upon review, it was clear Pearce had beaten the throw to first, and the call was overturned, keeping the frame alive with two outs. Martinez made good use of the flipped call, blasting a double to center field, scoring Pearce to put Boston up 3-2.
Martinez slipped rounding second and twisted his ankle, but after a quick visit from team medical staff he shooed them away and kept going.
— After the Dodgers tied the game again in the fifth, the Red Sox pulled back ahead in the bottom half of the frame.
Betts and Benintendi led the inning off with a walk and single, respectively, which resulted in Kershaw getting pulled.
Reliever Ryan Madson loaded the bases with no outs by walking Pearce, but Madson buckled down and struck out Martinez. Xander Bogaerts hit a chopper to short, which looked like it would be an inning-ending double play. Dozier couldn’t make the turn from second quick enough, though, and Bogaerts was safe at first, allowing Betts to score and put the Red Sox back up 4-3.
Rafael Devers stood in next and roped a single to right, driving in Benintendi and upping the advantage to 5-3.
Ian Kinsler flew out to right the next at-bat to end the inning.
— The Red Sox got up comfortably for the first time all game in the seventh.
Benintendi began the frame with a double and Martinez was intentionally walked two batters later. With two outs, Sox manager Alex Cora decided to pinch hit Nunez for Devers, and Nunez made the skipper look like a genius by launching a missile into the Green Monster seats, swelling Boston’s advantage to 8-4.
— Benintendi led the Red Sox with four hits.
— Martinez and Leon each had two hits, while Betts, Devers and Nunez all had one hit.
— Pearce, Bogaerts, Kinsler and Jackie Bradley Jr. went hitless, as did Mitch Moreland in his pinch-hit at-bat.
TWEET OF THE DAY
The Red Sox and Dodgers will continue the World Series with Game 2 on Wednesday night. David Price is scheduled to get the ball for Boston and will be opposed by Hyun-jin Ryu. First pitch from Fenway Park is set for 8:09 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images