By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
Final, 8-4 Red Sox: Kimbrel got a quick out on a grounder by Pederson, then struck Muncy out on three pitches. Turner then worked a count full after falling behind 0-2 and then fouled off a pair of pitches. Kimbrel then blew him away for a swinging strike three.
The Red Sox have a 1-0 lead in the World Series.
End 8th, 8-4 Red Sox: A leadoff single by Leon goes by the wayside, with Bradley and Betts both striking out before a harmless chopper to second by Benintendi for the final out.
Craig Kimbrel is coming on in a non-save situation. But stats like that really don’t matter much at this time of year.
Middle 8th, 8-4 Red Sox: That Nunez homer might have taken the wind out of the Dodgers’ sails, as they go down quietly in the eighth against Nathan Eovaldi.
Kemp and Hernandez grounded out, before Puig sent a grounder to deep short. Bogaerts fielded it to his right and made a strong throw across the diamond to get Puig in time for the third out.
Sixteen pitches, 10 strikes, three quick outs for Eovaldi.
Kimbrel is now warming.
Bottom 7th, 2 outs, 8-4 Red Sox: Alex Cora can do no wrong. And the Red Sox now lead by four.
On a 1-0 pitch, Nunez absolutely demolished a low curveball from Wood, sending a line drive just over the Green Monster in left.
A game-changing moment, and it came after some managerial chess by Roberts and Cora. Could Roberts have stuck with Baez against Devers? Could Cora have given Devers a shot against the lefty? We’ll never know, but we do know what did happen. It’s what makes this game so unpredictable.
Ian Kinsler popped out to end the inning, but this one is wide open now.
Bottom 7th, 2 outs, 5-4 Red Sox: That was some outing for Pedro Baez. He got Moreland to chase high heat for a swinging strikeout to start his outing. After an intentional walk to Martinez, he got Bogaerts to do the same.
He’ll now head to the showers, after a job well done. Alex Wood will come on in relief for what Roberts thought would be a left-on-left matchup with Devers. But Cora matched the move by sending Nunez to bat.
Same situation here — a single provides some breathing room — but there’s no room for error.
Bottom 7th, 0 out, 5-4 Red Sox: Benintendi led off the seventh with his fourth hit of the night, a blooper behind third base that neither Machado nor Pederson could get too. (Pederson should have had it, though.)
It bounced over the short wall in left for a ground-rule double, and that would be it for Urias.
That hit came on an inside fastball on an 0-2 count, giving the Sox yet another two-strike hit.
Roberts called upon the righty Pedro Baez, and Cora responded by replacing Pearce with Moreland. A base knock here from either Moreland or Martinez will give the Sox that two-run lead back.
Middle 7th, 5-4 Red Sox: Eduardo Rodriguez entered this game with just one task: retire Cody Bellinger. Any way possible. Get the final out of the inning.
He did it. After faling behind 2-0, Rodriguez got Bellinger to hit a sky-high fly ball to shallow center field. Jackie Bradley came on to make the catch for the final out of the inning.
That came, though, after L.A. got another one on the board. Machado hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to bring home a run, making this one as tight as can be in the seventh.
The inning began harmlessly enough, with Brasier getting a groundout from Pederson. Muncy then singled on a perfectly placed grounder through the shift, before Turner singled. Brasier then walked Grandal (pinch hitting for Freese) to load the bases for Machado.
After the sac fly, Cora went out to replace Brasier with Rodriguez, who got his job done.
Benintendi, Pearce and Martinez are due up in the bottom of the seventh.
End 6th, 5-3 Red Sox: And Urias matches Kelly. Leon struck out swinging, Bradley struck out looking, and Betts popped out on the infield to make for a quick inning.
Ryan Brasier is now entering to face Pederson (pinch hitting for Barnes) and then the top of the order.
Middle 6th, 5-3 Red Sox: That was a quick one for Joe Kelly. He kept peppering Matt Kemp with fastballs, getting him to swing and miss at two in a row for a strikeout. He then got Hernandez to strike out on three pitches, again getting a swing and a miss on a changeup.
Puig then chopped out to first base and flipped to Kelly to end the inning.
Looked easy for Kelly that inning.
Red Sox bullpen only needs to record nine more outs to win this game.
Julio Urias is entering for L.A.
End 5th, 5-3 Red Sox: Make that a two-run lead.
Rafael Devers took ball one in the dirt and then ripped a fastball through the right side of the infield, past a diving Dozier. Benintendi scored from third and the lead was double.
Kinsler hit a flare into right in the next at-bat, and it looked like it had a chance to drop to score another run. But Puig showed some quality closing speed, like a free safety in the open field, to get to that one with ease.
Joe Kelly is now in to face Kemp, Hernandez and Puig.
Top 5th, 2 outs, 4-3 Red Sox: The Sox have yet another lead in this game.
Bogaerts send a chopper to short. Machado charged it, scooped it on a short hop, and fired to second. (Man is he athletic.) With Pearce sliding in, Dozier tried to turn two, but Bogaerts was busting it out of the box. He beat the throw by a hair, and Betts came in to score.
Top 5th, 1 out, 3-3: Martinez struck out on three pitches. He put a couple of big swings on the last two, but that 96 mph is pumping in a lot hotter than Kershaw’s.
Bogaerts’ turn now.
Top 5th, 0 out, 3-3: Madson walked Pearce on four pitches (with a wild pitch mixed in to advance the runners). Bases juiced now for Martinez. Not what L.A. wanted.
Top 5th, 0 out, 3-3: Chris Sale couldn’t get an out in the fifth. Neither could Clayton Kershaw.
Betts battled for nine pitches, fouling off four straight before taking a ball four to kick off the sixth. Benintendi then laced a single to left field on a first-pitch slider.
That would do it for Kershaw on the night. Roberts went to Ryan Madson to face Pearce and then Martinez. Suffice it to say this is a moderately important moment in the game.
Middle 5th, 3-3: We’re tied up again.
Barnes came in looking to get the double play ball from Turner. He got a grounder, but it was a hot shot through the left side. With two on and one out, Machado stepped up. Barnes threw a wild pitch in the dirt, allowing the runners to move on. Machado then sent a grounder up the middle, right at Bogaerts, but he had no play at home.
Bogaerts threw to first for the second out of the inning, but this game is tied. Bellinger entered as a pinch hitter for Taylor, but he flew out to right field to end the inning.
That also closes the book on Sale. Three earned runs over 4+ innings.
Top 5th, 0 out, 3-2 Red Sox: Chris Sale’s night is over.
He started the fifth by walking Dozier on five pitches, throwing four consecutive balls to end the plate appearance. (Ball three should have been a strike.)
Not inspiring stuff from Sale, but he did record seven of his 12 outs tonight by way of the strikeout. Ultimately though those long at-bats are why his night is over after throwing 91 pitches.
Matt Barnes has entered to face Justin Turner.
End 4th, 3-2 Red Sox: Perhaps the starters have settled in? Kershaw just got Kinsler (swinging) and Leon (looking) to strike out, before getting Bradley to ground out for the 1-2-3 inning. A neat and tidy 13-pitch inning for Kershaw.
Middle 4th, 3-2 Red Sox: Sale kicked off the fourth by getting Hernandez to swing at a slider in the dirt for strike three, and then getting Puig to offer at … anoher slider in the dirt.
With two outs, the catcher came to bat. He flew out to center field, and Sale finally had a quick inning.
End 3rd, 3-2 Red Sox: Lots of action in the bottom of the third. And lots of concern from the home crowd, despite the Sox taking another lead.
After Betts struck out to start the inning, Benintendi singled into left. He could have taken second on a misplay by Taylor, but he was jogging out of the box. Pearce then grounded to the hole on the left side, but Machado made an excellent play to start a 6-4-3 double play. Problem was, Pearce was clearly safe at first, so the Sox challenged and kept the inning alive.
That sent up Martinez, who blasted a 2-2 slider deep — deeeep — to center field. That double scored Benintendi from first, to give the Sox a 3-2 lead.
But Martinez was thinking about a triple and stumbled over his ankle when trying to apply the brakes. That required attention from the trainers, which had folks in the ballpark a bit subdued. But Martinez stayed in the game. He’ll probably try to ice that thing down before his next at-bat. The benefits of being a DH.
Bogaerts was intentionally walked, before Devers struck out to end the inning. But Kershaw is clearly not ace-like this evening. Neither is Sale. We’ll see if the latter can get through a quick inning, now that he’s been staked to another lead.
Middle 3rd, 2-2: Chris Sale was indeed able to get out of the third, striking out Taylor and then inducing a tapper to the mound from Kemp. Sale threw to first for the final out, but that was yet another taxing inning for Sale, who’s already at 72 pitches. Seemingly every at-bat has gone deep, and Sale’s pitch count is paying for it.
In any event, the top of the Boston lineup is coming up against Kershaw for round No. 2.
Top 3rd, 2-2: Tie game. Chris Sale has hit a wall.
After getting a flyout from Dozier, Sale gave up a single to Turner and then a two-strike single to Freese. With two on and one out, Machado hit another sharp single — this one to left — to score the runner from second and tie the game.
Sale’s got work to do just to get out of this frame.
End 2nd, 2-1 Red Sox: Kershaw is pretty lucky to not be down even more, as a hot shot off the bat of Jackie Bradley with runners on the corners skipped off the back of the mound and turned into a room service hop for Machado to field and turn into an easy 6-3 double play. Count one hop for L.A.
The Sox got into that situation when Devers walked to lead off the inning. After Kinsler struck out, Sandy Leon singled through the right side, smacking an 0-2 fastball through a hole.
That set the scene for the ALCS MVP, who made good contact on a 1-2 fastball, but caught the back of the mound.
Middle 2nd, 2-1 Red Sox: The Dodgers have promptly cut that Boston lead in half, with Matt Kemp sending an arcing fly ball to left field on a 3-2 count. It came down just over the Monster for a solo homer.
Taylor had led off the inning with a swinging strikeout on a slider.
After the homer, Sale got a groundout from Hernandez before walking Puig. Sale struck out Barnes to end the frame.
Sale is now at 51 pitches, which isn’t ideal through two innings. But I’d imagine if he remains effective, he’ll be fine with throwing as many pitches as necessary tonight. As he said yesterday, there’s no reason to hold back now.
End 1st, 2-0 Red Sox: Clayton Kershaw almost got himself into a world of trouble. But he managed to limit the damage. Not before allowing another run, though.
He did get Pearce to pop out to Freese in shallow right (Freese overrran a foul popup from Betts earlier), but Martinez then ripped a 2-1 breaking ball into left field, to easily score Benintendi from second. (Charge that run to Puig.)
Kersha then fell behind Bogaerts 3-0 before getting the count to 3-2. Martinez took off with what he thought was the 3-2 pitch, but Kershaw threw over to first. Freese threw on to Dozier, who applied the tag to retire Martinez.
Bogaerts then popped up on the infield to end the inning.
Still, hard to be too upset about a 2-0 lead.
Kershaw only threw 20 pitches, but that slider was getting hit hard. When the fastball’s only coming in at 90 mph, hitters have a little bit of an easier time staying on the breaking ball.
Bottom 1st, 0 out, 1-0 Red Sox: The Red Sox have a lead, thanks to some aggression.
Betts reached by smoking a 2-2 breaking ball over second base for a leadoff single. He then took off for second base on the first pitch to Benintendi. It looked like a hit and run, with Benintendi swinging at an eye-high fastball. But it didn’t matter that Benintendi whiffed; Betts was safe on the headfirst slide, as the throw went into center field.
On the next pitch, Benintendi ripped a single into right field. Betts was cooking around third base and scored with ease.
Puig threw the plate home for no reason, allowing Benintendi to take second base.
Roberts challenged the play, as Benintendi’s fingers might have popped off the bag at second base, but the call stood.
Runner on second, nobody out, 1-0 lead for Boston, and Steve Pearce at the plate.
Middle 1st, 0-0: Chris Sale got his night started properly, getting Dozier to look at strike three on a 94 mph fastball before getting Turner to swing through a slider for strike three.
But David Freese singled with two outs and two strikes, slapping a slider through the right side of the infield.
It was no issue though, as Sale got Machado to hit a lazy fly out to left to end the inning.
That was 21 pitches for Sale. There was a whole lot of worry about his status. He looked fine.
Top 1st: Chris Sale’s first pitch to Brian Dozier is a low 94 mph fastball for ball one.
The World Series is underway. The “Beat L.A.” chants have begun.
7:51 p.m.: This place filled up fast. Once that storm rolled through, everyone got to their seats, and now both teams are on the field for pregame introductions.
The fans all booed when the Dodgers were introduced as a team, but then those boos turned to a standing ovation when manager Dave Roberts was introduced. That speaks to how dearly everyone here holds those 2004 memories.
Thunderous boos for Manny Machado, by the way.
6:42 p.m.: It’s a very strange environment here inside Fenway, as the ballpark has asked all fans to take cover for a storm that’s rolling through. It’s currently raining fairly moderately out there, with lightning passing through.
It’s not expected to postpone the game at all, but with the earlier storm around 4 p.m. and this one now, there certainly is a bit of a damper on that pregame buzz for the first game of the World Series.
I’m sure it will pick back up once that tarp gets taken off the field, but for now, it’s wet and weird inside Fenway.
4:00 p.m.: The long wait is almost over.
Well, not really. But at least game time is inching closer. And at least we now have a Red Sox lineup to hold us over for a little bit.
Here’s the lineup that Alex Cora will send out against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw:
1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
3. Steve Pearce, 1B
4. J.D. Martinez, DH
5. Xander Bogaerts, SS
6. Rafael Devers, 3B
7. Ian Kinsler, 2B
8. Sandy Leon, C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
— Chris Sale, LHP
Meanwhile, Dave Roberts will send a righty-heavy lineup at Sale.
1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Justin Turner, 3B
3. David Freese, 1B
4. Manny Machado, SS
5. Chris Taylor, LF
6. Matt Kemp, DH
7. Kike Hernandez, CF
8. Yasiel Puig, RF
9. Austin Barnes, C
— Clayton Kershaw, LHP
8:30 a.m.: It really doesn’t get much better than this. Game 1 of the World Series at Fenway Park.
It may seem like a common occurrence nowadays, considering this is now the fourth time since 2004 that the Red Sox have held home-field advantage in the World Series. But, considering it happened just twice in almost 90 years prior to that history altering season of 2004, one can still appreciate the relative rarity of the event.
This one’s got plenty of star power and intrigue, too, and that’s just with the starting pitchers. Clayton Kershaw will go down as either the very best or one of the very best pitchers of the 2010s. Yet he had some significant postseason struggles, going 5-7 with a 4.63 ERA from the start of the 2008 postseason through the 2017 NLDS.
But he seems to have gotten over whatever it was that troubled him, as he’s gone 4-1 with a 2.96 ERA in nine postseason appearances (seven starts) since then. And though he was shaky in a Game 1 loss in the NLCS against Milwaukee, he came back to allow just one run in eight innings in his next two appearances (one start, one relief appearance in Game 7). He figures to be a real threat in this one.
Then there is Chris Sale. The Boston left-hander was on track to winning a Cy Young this year, before he was essentially shut down at the end of July as he dealt with some “shoulder soreness.” His velocity was lacking in his September starts, but it reappeared during his ALDS start against the Yankees. It was gone, though, when he started Game 1 against Houston, and he struggled mightily with his command. He then spent a night in the hospital and was pushed back from his Game 5 start to Game 6 — though that Game 6 was of course not necessary.
So nobody really knows what to expect out of Sale in this one. He’s certainly said all the right things, and if you listen to him, it’s difficult to not believe him. If he can be reasonably close to what he was from April through July, then he may just be unhittable in this winter-like cold in Boston.
As for everything else, nobody knows what to expect. We’ll have updates and analysis right here in the live blog all the way through the final out, so check back early and often as this World Series gets underway.