For the sixth time in 10 games this postseason, the Red Sox offense managed to score at least seven runs. On Tuesday night in Boston, the club defeated the Dodgers 8-4 to take a 1-0 lead in the World Series, thanks in part to a three-run home run by Eduardo Núñez in the seventh inning when the score was 5-4.
The Red Sox opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning, plating a run each on singles by Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez. The Dodgers responded as Matt Kemp slugged a solo home run to left field off of Chris Sale in the second and Manny Machado tied the game at two apiece in the third with a single. In the third, J.D. Martinez gave the Red Sox the lead back, knocking in a run with a double to straightaway center field that was mere feet from crossing the fence.
In the top of the fifth, the Dodgers chased Sale after he issued a leadoff walk to Brian Dozier. Dozier came around to score, tying the game at three-all, when Manny Machado grounded out up the middle against Matt Barnes. Again, the Red Sox offense responded, matching the momentum by chasing Kershaw with no outs in the bottom of the fifth after he also issued a leadoff walk followed by a single. Xander Bogaerts knocked in the go-ahead run with a ground out and Rafael Devers added an insurance run with a single to make it 5-3.
Neither Kershaw nor Sale, two of the absolute best pitchers baseball has to offer, could record an out in the fifth. The duo of aces combined for eight innings, yielding eight combined runs on 12 hits and five walks with 12 strikeouts. Hardly a pitcher’s duel as was expected.
Both teams put up zeroes in the sixth, but the Dodgers clawed back for a run in the top of the seventh when Machado lifted a sacrifice fly to center field for his third RBI of the game. Yet again, the Red Sox had an answer in the bottom half. It started with Andrew Benintendi hitting a ground-rule double off of Julio Urías for his fourth hit of the game — all four hits came against lefties, by the way. (During the regular season, Benintendi had a .694 OPS against lefties and .877 against righties.) Dodgers manager Dave Roberts opted to bring in the right-handed Pedro Báez to face Steve Pearce, which prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to counter by pinch-hitting Mitch Moreland, who struck out. Báez intentionally walked J.D. Martinez, then struck out Xander Bogaerts before departing in favor of lefty Alex Wood to face the left-handed Rafael Devers. Cora again played the matchups, pinch-hitting Núñez for Devers and it worked out this time. Núñez ripped a 1-0 knuckle curve into the seats above the Green Monster in left field, breaking the game wide open at 8-4.
Nathan Eovaldi took over the top of the eighth, working a 1-2-3 frame by inducing three ground outs from Kemp, Enrique Hernández, and Yasiel Puig. The Red Sox went down with not much of a scare in the bottom half to send the game into the ninth. With the four-run cushion, Cora called on Craig Kimbrel to close it out despite his 7.11 ERA and 18.75 percent walk rate this postseason. He was apparently tipping his pitches. Kimbrel had an easy time, getting Joc Pederson to ground out, then striking out Max Muncy and Justin Turner.