(World Series baseball) Nunez game-breaker helps Red Sox outlast Dodgers

Sports | 24 Oct 2018 1:11 pm

The Fenway Funhouse proved too tricky, too cold and just too much for the beach boys.

Andrew Benintendi, J.D. Martinez and the Boston Red Sox came out swinging in the World Series opener, seizing every advantage in their quirky ballpark to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 on a chilly, windy Tuesday night.

Benintendi had four hits, Martinez drove in two early runs and pinch-hitter Eduardo Nunez golfed a three-run homer to seal it. The 108-win Red Sox got a solid effort from their bullpen after an expected duel between aces Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw never developed.

From the get-go, old Fenway Park caused all sorts of problems for the Dodgers.

Mookie Betts led off for the Red Sox with a popup that twisted first baseman David Freese as he tried to navigate the tight foul space near the stands and gauge the gusts. Lost, he overran the ball and it dropped behind him.

Given a second chance, Betts lined a single that set up a two-run first inning.

In the seventh, newly inserted left fielder Joc Pederson looked hesitant as he chased Benintendi’s soft fly, rushing toward the seats that jut out down the line. The ball ticked off his glove for a ground-rule double, and soon Nunez connected to break open a 5-4 game.

The crowd and cold temperatures were no picnic for Los Angeles, either.

It was 53 degrees at first pitch and it dropped into the mid-40s by the end. That was the coldest game for Los Angeles this season and quite a contrast from last year’s World Series, when it was a record 103 degrees for the opener at Dodger Stadium.

Game 2 is Wednesday night, when it is supposed to be even colder. David Price, fresh from beating Houston in the ALCS clincher, starts against Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Benintendi scored three times for Boston, trying for its fourth championship in 15 years.

Matt Kemp homered and Justin Turner had three hits for the Dodgers, aiming for their first crown since 1988. Machado drove in three runs, and his RBI grounder in the fifth inning made it 3-all.

Boston retook the lead in the bottom half when Xander Bogaerts hustled to beat out a potential inning-ending double play — Dodgers reliever Ryan Madson seemed to celebrate a little too early.

Rafael Devers followed with an RBI single, giving himself an early birthday present. He turned 22 at midnight, three minutes before the game ended.

Martinez, who led the majors with 130 RBIs, gave the crowd a scare when his foot slipped rounding second base on a run-scoring double in the third. He fell hard, but soon got up.

Steve Pearce, ruled safe at first on a replay review, scored from there on Martinez’s double. The ball hit a metal garage-type grate on the far center-field wall and took a weird carom, giving Pearce extra time to score.

A garage-style grate, used for groundskeeping vehicles and such. What other park has that in play?

A day before this opener, Kershaw and most of the Dodgers pooh-poohed the prospect that Fenway would cause them trouble. Most of them had never played at the oldest ballpark in the majors, built in 1912, but said they were sure they’d be OK.

It didn’t quite turn out that way in their first trip to Fenway since 2010.

The only other time the Dodgers and Red Sox met in the World Series was 1916, when Babe Ruth helped pitch Boston to the championship. Those games were at Braves Field, the bigger home park of the city’s National League franchise.-AP

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