Josh Beckett got off to the most overpowering start since Sandy Koufax and Dustin Pedroia became only the second player to lead off the World Series with a home run as the Boston Red Sox flattened the Colorado Rockies 13-1 in Wednesday's opener.
Back in the World Series with no Bambino's curse to worry about, the Red Sox racked up hit after hit as Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz backed up Beckett and Pedroia to lead a relentless offense.
Boston set a record for runs and victory margin in an opener and finished with 17 hits, becoming the first club to hit eight doubles in a Series game since 1925. After taking a 6-1 lead against Colorado ace Jeff Francis, the Red Sox piled on seven runs in the fifth, when Rockies reliever Ryan Speier walked three straight batters with the bases loaded -- the first time that ever happened in a Series game.
"It's great for us to come out here and win a game that big, get our psyche up and get our confidence going," Boston first baseman Kevin Youklis said. "We're playing good ball right now and we got to keep that momentum of playing good ball."
Make no mistake, these Red Sox are slick, and not just because of an on-and-off drizzle that seemed to dampen the noise from 36,733 fans in Fenway Park.
Colorado has the altitude -- the series shifts to mile-high Coors Field this weekend -- and had won 21 of 22 coming in. But after a record eight days off, the Rockies looked like a team starting spring training. Just four batters in and trailing by only a run, the Rockies moved their infield in.
"That's not the way we drew it up," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.
Boston, meanwhile, showed the veteran attitude and stretched a Red Sox Series winning streak to five for the first time since 1915-1916.
While the Rockies lined up for the introductions on the foul side of the third-base line, looking like World Series rookies, the Red Sox stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the infield side, knowing they belonged.
With stubble on his upper lip and a hint of a soul patch on his chin, the 27-year-old Beckett pitched in the manner of a young Roger Clemens. Coming off his American League championship series MVP, the 2003 World Series MVP blew away the Rockies with 95-97 mph fastballs the first time through the order, then started mixing in a 124kph curve.
Beckett allowed six hits in seven innings, struck out nine and walked one, improving to 4-0 with a 1.2 ERA in the postseason this year.
The winner of the opener has gone on to win nine of the last 10 World Series and 62 of 102 overall. While the 1959 Chicago White Sox and 1996 Atlanta Braves both won their openers by 11 runs, they went on to lose the Series.
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