No, seriously, I have no idea who the guys were in the grey uniforms at Fenway, but it certainly wasn’t the Cardinals we’re used to seeing this year. The Cardinals’ defense was virtually non-existent, earning 3 errors (and that was generous). And their pitching just never fully clicked.
The Cardinals’ starter threw 95 pitches over just 5 innings, allowing 6 hits and 5 runs (only 3 earned). The rest of the bullpen patched together a continued weak effort, allowing 2 more hits and 3 more runs (but only 2 earned). Those runs came early and often, unfortunately for the Cardinals. After a really sloppy call (that was overturned on a protest), the bases were loaded with one out at the bottom of the 1st inning. So a double cleared the bases, scoring the first 3 runs quickly. In the 2nd, bases loaded and one out again, an RBI single kept the bases loaded. So when the famed Boston DH stepped up, his solid hit took the ball flying into the bullpen, but the Cardinals’ outfielder reached over and turned what could have been a grand slam into a sacrifice fly.
Then, there was some downtime for the Red Sox offense. A throwing error in the 7th inning placed one Boston batter on base, who would of course score when the next one hit a 2-run home run. In the 8th, a sacrifice fly put the Red Sox at an 8-0 score.
Boston, on the other hand, sent their ace to the mound, who really kept the Cardinals away from anything close to a run, striking out 8 batters in his 7.2 innings. The final Red Sox pitcher gave up 2 hits, one of which was a solo home run, the only run the Cardinals would score all night. (It should be noted the rather “vocal” pitcher to close out the game for the Red Sox was the same one who got in a bit of trouble for “accidentally” hitting Alex Rodriguez earlier this year in protest for his playing through his appeal.)
So, the Red Sox won Game 1 with a score of 8-1. Many a Game 1 has been won, and drastically so, by teams who would go on to lose the series in the end. A comparison floating around online with the 1996 Game 1 results — the Braves won over the Yankees 12-1. The Braves also won Game 2 shutting them out 4-0, before the Yankees took Games 3, 4, 5, and 6 to win the first of 4 series over the next 5 years. You just never know with baseball.
After being given the honor of throwing the coin toss at the NY Giants game last Sunday (their first win of the season that night, Mo as a “good luck charm”?), MLB announced that Mariano Rivera will receive the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award before Game 2 tomorrow night. The Award is given at the Commissioner’s discretion to a person (or persons) who he believes has made a significant impact on the sport. Beginning in 1998, recipients have included Cal Ripken Jr., the 2001 Seattle Mariners (for their outstanding season, led by Ichiro Suzuki), Roger Clemens, Ichiro Suzuki (in 2005 for setting the single season record of 262 hits), Roberto Clemente (posthumously), and Rachel Robinson (for her work on behalf of her husband’s legacy). In other words, even in retirement, the Mariano Rivera legacy show continues, as it should and will until well beyond his Hall of Fame induction in 5 years.