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Red Sox Take One-Game Lead In World Series


The Boston Red Sox have taken a one game to none lead over St. Louis in the World Series, beating the Cardinals eight to one last night at Fenway Park. The evening started off badly for the visitors and didn't improve from there. NPR's Mike Pesca was there and has this report.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: They call it the fall classic before anyone even has a chance to judge the quality of play. Last night the Cardinals put in a performance that was classically inept. Little Leaguers the world over are schooled in avoiding the incident that befell St. Louis to start off the second. Boston's Steven Drew popped the ball up between the pitcher's mound and home plate. Cardinal pitcher Adam Wainwright called for it, but grew passive as the ball arced downward.

Plop, right between catcher Yadier Molina and Wainwright. Fox's Joe Buck Had the call.


JOE BUCK: Jammed him on the mound. Adam Wainwright says everybody stay away. And it drops.

PESCA: It was a textbook error, but not a rulebook error, as a ball that a defender does not get a glove on is ruled a hit. This development was bad for two reasons. First, it was a precursor to a pair of Red Sox runs in the inning. But worse, it came after a first inning that was even more disastrous for St. Louis. Then, with two men on and one out, the powerful but slow David Ortiz came to bat.

Ortiz rocketed a textbook double play to second. But this game thwarted more textbooks than the state of Tennessee during the Scopes Monkey Trial. WEEI radio had the call.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Here's the pitch. Swing and a chopper to the right side. Charged by Carpenter, flipped sideways to second. Dropped! Oh, they're going to say he's out on the exchange. John Farell's going to come out on this.

PESCA: This was a severely blown call. All the runners should have been safe. But when Boston manager John Farrell came out to make his case 38,345 screaming fans found they had a few allies in aggrievement. All five other umpires beside the one who made the original call indeed thought short stop Pete Kozma dropped the ball. After the game, Farrell acknowledged a reversal like that doesn't happen often.


JOHN FARRELL: I think based on their group conversation, surprisingly, to a certain extent, they overturned it and I think got the call right.

PESCA: Farrell argued that justice was served. But for the defense, because someone in a Cardinal uniform had to offer some version of defense, here's St. Louis manager Mike Matheny.


MIKE MATHENY: That's not a play I've ever seen before. And I'm pretty sure there were six umpires on the field that had never seen that play before either. And it's a pretty tough time to debut that overruled call in the World Series.

PESCA: Matheny was arguing process. Think about every time you've seen a manager jog onto a field to argue a call. Think about how often you see him jog off having won the argument. That's rare. And what if Farrell had stayed in the dugout? Would the umps have let the bad call stand? Unexplained. Boston's first baseman Mike Napoli acknowledged how unusual it all was.


MIKE NAPOLI: You rarely see that, you know, especially on a stage like this. But, you know, I think that was good for the game.

PESCA: It was good for Napoli, who came up with the bases loaded.


PESCA: And then soon stood on second with the bases empty. Three runs in the first, two in the second, a two-run homerun by David Ortiz - this was not close, especially with Boston pitcher Jon Lester mowing down Cardinals. Another setback for St. Louis in addition to the outcome occurred when their right fielder, Carlos Beltran, injured himself reaching over the outfield wall to rob David Ortiz of a home run.

Beltran left the game and was treated at a local hospital. The Cardinals indicate their clutch hitting outfielder could come back tomorrow. Baseball history suggests the Cardinals can too. They have Michael Wacha on the mound. The 22-year-old has three starts this postseason; he's won all three, having given up a total of one run. The Red Sox countered with John Lackey and Fenway Park. Mike Pesca, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mike Pesca first reached the airwaves as a 10-year-old caller to a New York Jets-themed radio show and has since been able to parlay his interests in sports coverage as a National Desk correspondent for NPR based in New York City.