Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Red Sox have jumped on Adam Wainwright early and are poised to break open Game 1 of the World Series.
Mike Napoli hit a three-run double in the first inning and the Red Sox added two more runs in the second as they lead the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-0, through three frames in the opener of the 109th edition of the Fall Classic.
An evenly-matched World Series on paper has been anything but out of the gate. The Cardinals have committed two errors -- both by shortstop Pete Kozma -- and have only recorded one single against Lon Lester, who has thrown just 35 pitches while striking out four.
Wainwright, on the other hand, has been shaky in his first World Series start. The Cardinals ace issued a rare leadoff walk that led to three runs in the first inning and had a miscommunication with catcher Yadier Molina on a routine pop up in the second. Three of the five runs he has given up have been earned.
To make matters worse for the NL champs, Carlos Beltran exited in the third inning with an apparent rib injury.
This is the fourth time these storied franchises have met in the Fall Classic. St. Louis won the first two in 1946 and 1967, and the Red Sox famously returned the favor in 2004 to end their 86-year title drought.
Only Boston's David Ortiz and Molina remain from the matchup from nine years ago, and Ortiz was prominently involved in a controversial play in the first inning Wednesday when he bounced into what appeared to be a tailor-made double play with one out and runners on first and second.
Kozma dropped Matt Carpenter's flip to the second-base bag, however, and Dana DeMuth's ensuing call caused a firestorm. The second base umpire ruled Kozma lost control on the exchange and Dustin Pedroia out at second as a result.
Red Sox manager John Farrell sprung from the dugout to argue, and after an extended meeting with all six umpires, the call was reversed. Mike Matheny, who like Farrell is managing in his first World Series, went out for a heated exchange with the men in blue, but his appeal fell on deaf ears.
With the bases now loaded, Napoli delivered a line drive into the left-field gap. A generous bounce off the Green Monster allowed Ortiz to score all the way from first after Jacoby Ellsbury and Pedroia easily crossed the plate.
Boston loaded the bases again in the second. Wainwright and Molina stared at one another as Stephen Drew's pop up dropped between them to start the inning. David Ross followed with a single, and two batters later Kozma couldn't handle Shane Victorino's tough ground ball in the hole.
Pedroia singled past a diving David Freese at third to bring in a run, and Ortiz brought the Fenway Park crowd to its feet when he belted a pitch deep to right field.
Beltran, though, casually made a grand slam-saving catch at the wall after running into it, and Ross tagged up and scored for a 5-0 lead for the AL champs.
In obvious pain after making the catch, Beltran went to the locker room the next half-inning, and Jon Jay took his place in the lineup.
The Game 1 winner has won nine of the last 10 World Series.