BOSTON -- Breaking down the World Series Game 1 at Fenway Park.
Red Sox 8, Cardinals 1: Red Sox lead series 1-0.
BOX SCORE: Red Sox 8, Cardinals 1
State of the Series: The Red Sox have all the momentum heading into Game 2 after a dominating victory in the World Series opener. They'll have veteran right-hander John Lackey on the mound against rookie Michael Wacha of the Cardinals.
Lackey (10-13, 3.52 ERA in the regular season) tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings his last time out against the Detroit Tigers in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. He struck out eight, allowing just four hits and no walks. Having spent his entire career in the American League, Lackey has never before faced the Cardinals.
Wacha (4-1, 2.78 ERA in the regular season) has been almost unhittable in the postseason, yielding just one earned run in 21 innings (0.43 ERA). Over his three playoff starts, Wacha has 22 strikeouts and four walks – and opposing batters have a cumulative average of .114 against him.
Man of the moment: The Red Sox figured to be at a disadvantage in the starting pitcher matchup, but Jon Lester was up to the challenge. The big left-hander not only held the Cardinals scoreless for 7 2/3 innings, but he also helped preserve the Boston bullpen for the rest of the series.
Lester gave up five hits and a walk in outdueling Cardinal ace Adam Wainwright, fanning eight batters and throwing 76 of his 112 pitches for strikes.
He's now thrown 13 1/3 scoreless innings in his two career World Series appearances.
NIGHTENGALE: Cardinals' mistakes in Game 1 lead to rout
Game 1 pivot point: Three batters into the bottom of the first inning, the Red Sox took advantage of a critical mistake by Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma – and nearly one by the umpiring crew – on a ground ball that could have been an inning-ending double play.
With runners on first and second, David Ortiz grounded to second baseman Matt Carpenter. Playing on the second-base side of the bag in the overshift, Kozma had to move to his right to cover the bag.
Second base umpire Dana DeMuth originally called the runner, Dustin Pedroia, out. But after a conference, the call was changed – correctly – and the Red Sox had the bases loaded with one out. Mike Napoli cleared them three pitches later to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.
UMPIRES: Reverse call at second base
How big was the error? Obviously, a double play would have gotten the Cardinals out of the inning with no runs scoring. Had the original out at second stood, teams score an average of 1.211 runs with runners on the corners and one out. With the bases loaded and no one out, teams average 2.390 runs.
Even though the Cardinals never threatened once the Red Sox built their big lead, they could have at least kept it closer had Kozma been able to make the play.
GALLERY: WORLD SERIES
Needing a mulligan: Kozma, hands down. Not only did his error open the door to the three-run first inning for the Red Sox, another error in the second also contributed to another unearned run.
Kozma, who is generally considered an above-average fielder, couldn't hold onto Shane Victorino's ground ball in the hole with runners on first and second. That led to an unearned run when David Ortiz hit what appeared to be a grand slam that Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran caught when he slammed against the right field wall. Beltran's catch would have been the third out had Kozma been able to get an out on Victorino's grounder. Instead it was a sacrifice fly that made it 5-0 Boston.
What you missed on TV: The Cardinals' best chance to get back in the game came in the top of the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with one out. But after David Freese grounded back to the mound to start an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play, the Red Sox got out of the inning.
What you missed was that as the Red Sox came off the field and the TV audience went to a commercial, the music played on the Fenway Park loudspeakers was, appropriately enough, the Jackson Five's "ABC."
Manager's special: Cardinals manager Mike Matheny had no control over his team's misplays, which extended innings and forced starting pitcher Adam Wainwright to pass the 50-pitch mark in the second inning.
Matheny stuck with Wainwright for five full innings before going to the bullpen. Wainwright ended up throwing 95 pitches in five innings, giving up five runs – three of which were earned.
It was possible that Wainwright could have come out earlier in the game so that he could come back earlier in the series than his expected Game 5 start. However, Matheny ended any speculation by allowing Wainwright to go as deep as he did into the game.