BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox's renaissance started during the regular season with a patient and powerful offense that provided ample cushion for a pitching staff that possessed one of the top bullpens in the major leagues.
And in the postseason, the Red Sox have received even more help — from their opponents.
The Red Sox offense took advantage of Adam Wainwright's lack of command and three errors by the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night to support the dominant pitching of Jon Lester and cruise to an 8-1 victory in Game 1 of the World Series at Fenway Park.
"[The Cardinals] are not a team that's going to beat themselves," Red Sox catcher David Ross said. "They did [Wednesday]."
Lester stretched his scoreless streak in World Series play to 13 1/3 innings thanks to a cut fastball that frequently jammed a Cardinals lineup that lost valuable right fielder Carlos Beltran in the third inning.
Beltran, playing in his first World Series game after 15 seasons, suffered a right rib bruise after running into the right field fence to rob David Ortiz of a grand slam in the second inning and is listed as day to day after X-rays were negative.
That added to a frustrating night for the Cardinals, who never recovered from a rocky first inning.
Mike Napoli made them pay dearly for a disputed error by shortstop Pete Kozma with a three-run double in the first. Initially, second base umpire Dana DeMuth ruled Kozma caught Matt Carpenter's throw for the second out at second base and lost the ball while trying to throw.
Red Sox Manager John Farrell argued the call and, after an umpires' meeting, the call was reversed to load the bases for Napoli.
"I don't think it was a momentum shift by any means because they got the call right," Red Sox left fielder Jonny Gomes said.
The Red Sox added two runs in the second inning Wednesday after Stephen Drew hit a popup in front of the mound that fell at Wainwright's feet.
They padded the lead to 7-0 on Ortiz's two-run home run after David Freese's throwing error.
Lester retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced and the final nine as he became the third pitcher in Series history to post consecutive scoreless starts in his first two Series starts (2007, 2013), joining Christy Mathewson (1905) and Madison Bumgarner (2010, 2012).
"This time of year, you have to think about winning each inning," Lester said.
Lester equaled his postseason high with eight strikeouts and lowered his postseason earned-run average to 1.67. His five postseason victories are the most for a Red Sox left-hander.