BOSTON — An easy toss on a sure out that skittered away. A routine popup that somehow dropped between Gold Glovers. And something even more startling — umpires reversing a key call.
Most everything fell into place for the Boston Red Sox in the World Series opener.
Mike Napoli hit a three-run double right after a game-changing decision in the very first inning, Jon Lester made the early lead stand up and the Red Sox romped past the sloppy St. Louis Cardinals 8-1 on Wednesday night for their ninth straight Series win.
A season before Major League Baseball is expected to expand instant replay, fans got to see a preview. The entire six-man crew huddled and flipped a ruling on a forceout at second base — without looking at any video.
"I think based on their group conversation, surprisingly, to a certain extent, they overturned it and I think got the call right," Boston manager John Farrell said.
David Ortiz was robbed of a grand slam by Carlos Beltran — a catch that sent the star right fielder to a hospital with bruised ribs — but Big Papi later hit a two-run homer following third baseman David Freese's bad throw.
The Red Sox also capitalized on two errors by shortstop Pete Kozma to extend a Series winning streak that began when they swept St. Louis in 2004. Boston never trailed at any point in those four games and coasted on this rollicking night at Fenway Park, thanks to a hideous display by the Cardinals.
It got so bad for St. Louis that the sellout crowd literally laughed when pitcher Adam Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina, who've combined to win six Gold Gloves, let an easy popup drop untouched between them.
Serious-minded St. Louis manager Mike Matheny didn't find anything funny, especially when the umpires changed a call by Dana DeMuth at second base.