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Game 1 rout not necessarily precursor to title

Eight of 15 teams to win opener by six runs or more went on to claim championship

Recent history says that winning the opening game of a World Series usually leads to a championship celebration, with 21 of the past 25 Game 1 victors going on to claim the trophy.

That's good news for the Red Sox, who struck the first blow in the 2013 Fall Classic with an 8-1 win over the Cardinals on Wednesday night at Fenway Park. But that lopsided score, while rare, doesn't guarantee an easy road to the title for Boston.

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In World Series history, 15 teams won Game 1 by at least six runs, yet only eight of those went on to a championship.

On the other hand, some current members of the Red Sox know what it's like to carry over the success from a Game 1 blowout to the rest of a World Series. Boston opened the 2007 Fall Classic by jumping all over Colorado and starter Jeff Francis en route to a 13-1 victory. That was the most recent Game 1 blowout and also the most severe, and the Sox then became one of four teams to turn such a performance into a sweep.

Unclassic Classic openers
Largest margin of victory in Game 1 of a World Series
Team Opp. Date Score Margin Series
Bos. Col. 10/24/2007 13-1 12 4-0 Bos.
Atl. NYY 10/20/1996 12-1 11 4-2 NYY
Cws. L.A. 10/1/1959 11-0 11 4-2 L.A.
Mil. Stl. 10/12/1982 10-0 10 4-3 Stl.
Min. Stl. 10/17/1987 10-1 9 4-3 Min.
Chc. Det. 10/3/1945 9-0 9 4-3 Det.
Ari. NYY 10/27/2001 9-1 8 4-3 Ari.
Cin. Cws. 10/1/1919 9-1 8 5-3 Cin.
Bos. Stl. 10/23/2013 8-1 7 TBD
Cin. Oak. 10/16/1990 7-0 7 4-0 Cin.
NYY NYG 10/6/1937 8-1 7 4-1 NYY
L.A. NYY 10/10/1978 11-5 6 4-2 NYY
Bos. Cin. 10/11/1975 6-0 6 4-3 Cin.
Min. L.A. 10/6/1965 8-2 6 4-3 L.A.
NYY Chc. 9/28/1932 12-6 6 4-0 NYY
Bos. Phi. 10/9/1914 7-1 6 4-0 Bos.

Also on that list is the 1990 Reds, who ambushed the defending champion A's for a 7-0 victory in Game 1. The other two sweeps came in the early part of the last century, with the 1932 Yankees defeating the Giants and the 1914 Braves taking down the A's.

More recent history shows just how fleeting the feeling of momentum can be.

Take 1996, when the defending champion Braves walloped the Yanks for a 12-1 Game 1 win in New York, knocking out Andy Pettitte after he allowed seven runs in 2 1/3 innings. Atlanta also won the second game, 4-0, but New York stormed back to take four straight and the series.

The Yankees also turned a deflating Game 1 defeat into a competitive series in 2001, when the D-backs won by eight runs in the opener. New York won three straight after falling into a 2-0 series hole before suffering another lopsided loss in Game 6, then dropping a dramatic Game 7 to Arizona.

Even the Cards have experience in this regard. St. Louis suffered a 10-0 loss in the first game of the 1982 World Series against Milwaukee, but eventually won in seven. The Redbirds also went the distance but lost to the Twins in 1987, following a 10-1 defeat in the opener.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @HitTheCutoff.

Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals