All of the focus coming into the series opener was on the exceptional pitching matchup. Clayton Kershaw facing Chris Sale on baseball’s grandest stage had all the makings of a World Series classic. Instead, it was the offenses that set the tone, leading to the starters recording a combined 24 outs in a historically short World Series outing.
All of that on a night that seemingly wasn’t conducive for offense.
The playing conditions were far different from Game 1 last year. The Dodgers hosted the Houston Astros with the temperature a World Series-record 103 degrees at first pitch. The temperature in Boston for first pitch was a balmy 53 degrees. That followed an afternoon filled with rain that left us all a little nervous about the possibility of a delay.
Fortunately, the weather cleared about an hour before first pitch. It was the Red Sox offense that ended up raining down runs on Kershaw and the Dodgers bullpen to take the series lead.
Boston will now look to take control of the series in Game 2 on Wednesday. They’ll send David Price to the hill coming off his first postseason victory in ALCS Game 5. He’ll be opposed by the Dodgers Hyun-jin Ryu. Before we look too far ahead though, here are five key moments from Game 1.
Eduardo Núñez delivers the dagger with three-run homer
It was anyone’s game until the seventh inning. The Dodgers had actually just rallied to trim the Red Sox lead to one in the top of the inning, but Boston struck back with one big swing of the bat from Eduardo Núñez.
The veteran infielder delivered a three-run, pinch-hit home run against Dodgers reliever Alex Wood to give Boston breathing room.
Alex Cora hit all the right buttons in Game 1. Núñez was batting for Rafael Devers, who hit the game-breaking three-run homer in Boston’s pennant-clinching win in Game 5 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros. Devers also contributed earlier in Game 1.
Rafael Devers adds insurance, joins elite company
In his final days as a 21-year-old, Devers continued to show no moment on the baseball field is too big for him. The young third baseman knocked in another critical run for his team in Game 1, coming through with a two-out RBI single in the fifth inning.
The rope capped a two-run inning for Boston. It also moved Devers into some elite postseason company.
Devers joins Gehrig, A-Rod, and Ryan Howard for the longest streak of playoff starts (8) with an RBI.
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) October 24, 2018
Mookie Betts steals his way into America’s heart
The first stolen base of the World Series means tacos for everyone. It didn’t take long at all for that promotion to be unlocked. In the first inning, Mookie Betts made himself a hero to baseball fans everywhere by swiping second base after leading off with a single.
Betts reached after getting a second chance in his at-bat when the Dodgers misplayed a foul popup that remained in play. The steal seemingly came on a broken hit-and-run. Andrew Benintendi swung late and awkwardly at a Kershaw pinch above his head. It did enough to throw off Dodgers’ catcher Austin Barnes. His throw was high and Betts got in. Betts scored shortly after when Benintendi singled him home with one of his four hits in the game.
Red Sox win challenge, take back lead
Replay went the Red Sox way in the third inning. After Steve Pearce appeared to ground into an inning-ending double play, manager Alex Cora challenged and won, allowing the Red Sox inning to continue. One batter later, J.D. Martinez cashed him in with a ringing double off the center field wall.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 24, 2018
The RBI hit was Martinez’s second of the game.
It wasn’t all great though for Boston. Martinez rolled his ankle rounding second base after his big hit and was initially hobbled. He finished the game but it’s a situation worth monitoring before Game 2.
Matt Kemp homers in first World Series at-bat
Making his World Series debut after 13 seasons in MLB and 280 career homers, Matt Kemp wasted no time hitting his first home run in the Fall Classic. Kemp went deep against Red Sox starter Chris Sale in the second inning to get the Dodgers on the scoreboard.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 24, 2018
It was Kemp’s first postseason homer since NLDS Game 2 in 2014. That was right before the end of his first tenure with the Dodgers. He’s the 36th player in MLB history to homer in his first World Series at-bat.
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