BOSTON — In the jovial Boston Red Sox clubhouse after their 8-1 win Wednesday night in Game 1 of the World Series, cameras and tape recorders and the people who hold them gathered around catcher David Ross.
"Back to Lester ..." one reporter says to Ross.
The catcher quips back, "Let's talk about me a little bit more."
Ross laughs. The reporters laugh. They laugh because it's understood — Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester was the man of the hour in Boston's win over the St. Louis Cardinals, no doubt about it.
"I can't say enough good things," Ross says, and to be clear here, he's talking about Lester. "He's a big-stage pitcher and a big-game pitcher. He's been doing it all year, especially when he goes against other aces or other studs. He's a horse that we get behind."
Everybody in Boston is nodding in agreement after Game 1. Lester was lights out ,dominating the Cardinals through 7 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and striking out eight without allowing a run. In his second career World Series start — the first one coming in 2007 — Lester managed to keep his ERA a pristine 0.00 in the fall classic. He pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings in 2007's Game 4, the series clincher.
Big games? Check. Big opponents? Check there too.
Lester bested Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright on Wednesday night. The Red Sox battered Wainwright for five runs (three of them earned) in five innings. He was getting bruised while Lester cruised.
"The way Lester threw the ball, I lost the game in minutes," Wainwright said afterward.
Lester kept the Cardinals off-balance, mixing his fast ball, his curve and his cutter. The Cardinals were eager to get the bat off their shoulders and the Lester was making them miss.
"We wanted to set the tone and get them swinging," Lester said. "That's important for my game as far as getting that fastball and cutter involved. Make sure that they're not able to just lock in and key on certain areas on me."
"The key to me," said Red Sox manager John Farrell, "was the double play in that fourth inning. Comebacker to him, the 1-2-3 double play. And as he got deeper into the game, he got his change-up in the mix a little more. Just a solid, solid outing by Jon."
That fourth inning was the toughest Lester faced, the bases were loaded with one out before the double play off the bat of David Freese. The Cardinals only had runners in scoring position one other time against him — in the fifth inning and Lester left that unscathed too.
"This time of year," Lester said, "you really have to think about winning each inning. And once we scored in that first, to go out there, you've got to win that inning. You've got to put a zero up. Get these guys back in the dugout and get them up to the batter's box. We were able to do that and we ended up scoring a few more runs. That was big for us, especially against a pitcher like Adam over there."
But back to Lester ... after Game 1, many people, not just his catcher, will have an abundance of good things to say.
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