BOSTON — Clayton Kershaw took steps to prepare for his first career start at Fenway Park but didn’t have it when he took the mound for Game 1 of the World Series.
The Boston Red Sox roughed up the Los Angeles Dodgers ace for five runs in four-plus innings, pulling away late for an 8-4 win Tuesday night and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Boston. The Red Sox are playing in their fourth World Series in 15 years, having won in 2004, 2007 and 2013. The Dodgers are playing in their second straight Fall Classic, though they haven’t won the title since 1988.
Kershaw roughed up
Kershaw, who went to Fenway once the Dodgers landed in Boston on Sunday to straighten out his delivery after pitching the ninth inning in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday, averaged 90 mph on his fastball most the night. He allowed seven hits, walked three and struck out five.
Andrew Benintendi led Boston’s offense, becoming the third Red Sox player with four hits in a World Series game. Eduardo Nunez opened the contest up in the seventh inning with a pinch-hit, three-run home run.
Kershaw (0-1) got little help from his defense in the first. Mookie Betts, the Red Sox’s leadoff man, reached on a single after first baseman David Freese failed to catch a popout in foul territory. Betts then stole second on the first pitch to Benintendi and scored on a single that saw right fielder Yasiel Puig airmail a throw home, allowing Benintendi to advance to second. Benintendi came home on a J.D. Martinez single for a 2-0 Red Sox lead.
Sale also struggles
Boston’s Chris Sale, also not his best in his first outing since Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, gave a run back in the top of the second, serving up a moonshot to Matt Kemp into the Green Monster seats in left. The home run was the first of the postseason for Kemp and the first Sale has allowed at Fenway since May 27.
After the Dodgers tied the score on three consecutive one-out singles in the third, Boston reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the frame with the help of replay. What was initially ruled an inning-ending double play was overturned when a challenge showed Steve Pearce beat the throw at first. Martinez doubled to deep center as the next batter, forging a 3-2 lead.
Martinez wiped out after rounding second base trying for a triple and was tended to by trainers before remaining in the game.
Sale was pulled after walking Brian Dozier to lead off the fifth, having thrown 91 pitches to that point. Matt Barnes (1-0) took over, and after allowing a single and wild pitch to advance the runners to second and third, gave up a game-tying RBI groundout to Manny Machado.
Sale allowed three runs on five hits, striking out seven and walking two in his first outing since being hospitalized last week for a stomach illness.
Red Sox keep pressure on
The Red Sox took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth on a bases-loaded, RBI fielder’s choice from Xander Bogaerts, who hustled to avoid a double play, and a run-scoring single by Rafael Devers, with both runs charged to Kershaw.
Los Angeles made it 5-4 with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Machado in the seventh, but Nunez’s blast gave Boston a safe margin.
Nathan Eovaldi pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Craig Kimbrel did the same in the ninth to close out the win.
Machado drove in three runs for the Dodgers, who got three hits from Justin Turner and two from Freese.
–Kyle Brasseur, Field Level Media