|Pedroia's HR sparks Boston to 4-1 lead after 3 innings in World Series opener|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 24 October 2007 17:02|
The wild-card Rockies had won 21 of 22 games coming in, but they also had eight days off before this opener. Rather than being rested, Jeff Francis and Colorado looked rusty in the franchise's Series debut.
In a light to moderate rain, Red Sox hitters picked up where they left off after coming back from a 3-1 deficit to beat Cleveland in the AL championship series. In winning those last three games, they outscored Cleveland 30-5.
Pedroia, who homered, doubled and drove in five runs in Game 7 against the Indians, homered on Francis' second pitch to start a three-run first inning.
The Red Sox were playing in the Series for the second time in four years - they ended an 86-year title drought in 2004. Curt Schilling, 10-2 with a 2.25 ERA in postseason play, starts Game 2 against Rockies rookie Ubaldo Jimenez.
Perhaps showing some signs of their layoff - or maybe as much trouble hitting Beckett's fastball as the Indians did - all three Rockies hitters struck out in the first on 97 mph pitches.
When ALCS MVP Beckett fanned Todd Helton in the second, the right-hander moved within one of the record for most strikeouts to start a World Series game. It was set by Mort Cooper of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1943 and tied by Koufax of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1963.
Koufax did it against the New York Yankees, striking out Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson, Tom Tresh, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Garrett Atkins broke through for the Rockies with a high-fly double that hit about 30 feet up the 37-foot left field wall, but Beckett retired Brad Hawpe - on another strikeout. Then Troy Tulowitzki doubled lower off the wall on Beckett's first pitch, cutting the lead to 3-1.
Tulowitzki and Pedroia are both top candidates for their leagues' rookie of the year awards and both made impressive World Series debuts.
Pedroia hit a line drive over the Green Monster in left field. Kevin Youkilis followed with a double, took third on Ortiz's groundout and, with the infield playing in, scored on Manny Ramirez's single. Mike Lowell flied out, but Jason Varitek singled and J.D. Drew lined an RBI double.
In the second, Francis retired the first two batters and had an 0-2 count on Youkilis. But the lefty walked him then gave up an RBI double to Ortiz.
Beckett's three strikeouts in the first came against Willy Taveras, the only Colorado player with postseason experience, Kaz Matsui, a former teammates of Boston pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka in Japan, and NLCS MVP Matt Holliday.
The Red Sox have a huge edge in experience.
Four of their players won postseason MVP awards - Schilling, Ramirez and Beckett twice. The Rockies have four games, total, of postseason experience - all by Taveras with the Houston Astros in 2005, a sweep by Chicago White Sox.
But the last time the teams met, Colorado beat Boston 7-1 in Fenway Park on June 14 to win the interleague series 2-1. Beckett, 9-0 to that point, allowed six runs in five innings. Francis pitched five scoreless innings and began an 8-0 surge.