BOSTON -- The Dodgers probably didn't know it, but they were in trouble in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday as soon as first baseman David Freese misplayed a foul ball off the bat of Red Sox leadoff man Mookie Betts in the bottom of the first inning.You
BOSTON -- The Dodgers probably didn't know it, but they were in trouble in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday as soon as first baseman David Freese misplayed a foul ball off the bat of Red Sox leadoff man Mookie Betts in the bottom of the first inning.
You can't give Boston's relentless lineup second chances. Invariably, the Red Sox make you pay, even against a pitcher as accomplished as Clayton Kershaw.
Betts smashed a single up the middle, stole second and then scored on an RBI single to right by Andrew Benintendi, who went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI. And when Yasiel Puig threw home even though he had no shot at getting the speedy Betts, Benintendi motored to second. Naturally, he wound up scoring on an RBI single by J.D. Martinez.
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On their way to an 8-4 victory at Fenway Park, Boston had taken a 2-0 lead against Kershaw in the first.
"Yeah, it started with Mookie putting a good at-bat together, and then just getting ahead early," said Benintendi. "We've been trying to do that all postseason, and for the most part, it seems like we've been able to do that so far. Maybe it puts pressure on them right away, but hopefully we can keep doing it."
When the Red Sox score first, they hardly ever lose. No, really. They are 8-0 in this postseason when they score first, and 82-15 overall this season (including playoffs).
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"I think we've done it all year: Step on the pedal and let's go, take it to your opponent and not sit back and wait for something to happen," said Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers. "[Manager] Alex [Cora] has done it the whole year with hit-and-runs, first-inning, let's go. I think this team really enjoys that. That's the type of team we are. In basketball, it's that run-and-gun fast break, let's go. That's part of their DNA, especially the top of the order. They get us started and the bottom feeds off of that."
When the Sox get their offense going, they are nearly impossible to beat. To wit: Boston is 86-12 when it scores five runs or more this season, including 6-0 in the playoffs.
The Dodgers showed their resilience by coming back to tie the game twice. But the Red Sox kept at it with big hits throughout the night, capped by a pinch-hit three-run homer by Eduardo Nunez in the seventh.
"We feel great," said Betts. "It doesn't matter who's pitching, we roll up our sleeves and start playing and go from there."
The fast start in the first inning of the World Series was a familiar feeling to the Fenway faithful.
The Red Sox have played in five previous World Series when they hosted Game 1 at Fenway Park. They scored multiple runs in the bottom of the first inning in Game 1 against the Cardinals in 2013, the Rockies in '07 and the Cardinals in '04 en route to winning the Fall Classic each time.
All three hits against Kershaw were bashed. According to Statcast™, the knock by Betts was 102.2 mph. Benintendi's single was 103.8 mph. And Martinez ripped his at 105.9 mph.
"It's huge," said Betts. "From the beginning, we play aggressive and in a spot like that let them know we're not going to ease into it. Right off the bat, we're going 100 mph and it ended up working out well."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.