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Rockies’ horror show

Times Staff Writer

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox put on their game faces after the game, doggedly determined not to laugh or gloat. Julio Lugo, the shortstop, issued a stern warning.

“This series is not over,” he said.

One game into the World Series, and he’s saying that? This game compelled him to say so.

They don’t call the mercy rule in the major leagues, of course, but they could have Wednesday. Come in from the rain, everybody, and we’ll start from scratch another day.

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The Boston Red Sox put a historic whipping on the Colorado Rockies, in the most lopsided Game 1 in the 104 years of the World Series: Boston 13, Colorado 1.

As the Rockies scrambled for cover, the Red Sox rushed to minimize the importance of the game, to douse what America might perceive as the inevitability of a Boston victory, if not a Boston sweep.

“This will be almost totally irrelevant tomorrow,” Boston third baseman Mike Lowell said. “If we could go out there tomorrow up 13-1, then I would say it matters a lot.”

But so much for the Rockies’ roll. Colorado entered the World Series with 21 victories in 22 games and exited under a hail of indignities.

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How about Boston starter Josh Beckett throwing nothing but fastballs in the first inning -- daring Colorado to hit one -- and striking out the side? How about Colorado reliever Franklin Morales giving up seven runs in one inning, all with two out? How about Colorado reliever Ryan Speier facing three batters and walking them all -- all with the bases loaded?

How about the Red Sox getting more hits in the first two innings than the Rockies did all night? How about the Rockies giving up 16 runs in the first two rounds of the playoffs, then 13 on Wednesday? How about the Red Sox tying World Series records with eight doubles and nine extra-base hits -- all by the fifth inning?

To those records, Lowell and second baseman Dustin Pedroia offered the same response: “Wow.”

How about Colorado outfielder Matt Holliday, the possible National League most valuable player, striking out twice and failing to get the ball out of the infield? How about Colorado outfielder Brad Hawpe striking out four times?

Neither a steady rain nor a 55-degree evening kept the Red Sox from their apparent mission to expose the Rockies as an NL fraud.

The Rockies lost their first game since Sept. 28, their first road game since Sept. 13. After sweeps in the first two rounds of the playoffs, they played for the first time in nine days.

“We’re a no-excuse ballclub,” Colorado Manager Clint Hurdle said.

Said Lugo, “They just faced the best pitcher in baseball. That’s the bottom line.”

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If that explained everything, then the Rockies have a chance in this series. We’ll see -- the Red Sox became the first team to score at least 10 runs in three consecutive postseason games -- but Lugo is not just spinning hype.

Beckett, the lone 20-game winner in the major leagues this season, has lived the cliches in October, “stepping up” and “taking his game to a new level.”

He struck out the first four batters, the most to start a World Series game since Sandy Koufax struck out five for the Dodgers in 1963. He stopped the Rockies on one run over seven innings, striking out nine. He is 4-0 with a 1.20 earned-run average in October, with two walks and 35 strikeouts.

“Maybe 20 years down the road, they’ll be mentioning guys and saying, ‘He’s having a Beckett postseason,’ ” Lowell said. “That’s how dominating he’s been.”

In the first inning, Beckett struck out the side on 15 pitches, all fastballs from 93-96 mph. He did not throw a changeup until the seventh inning.

In the bottom of the first, Dustin Pedroia hit the second pitch from Colorado starter Jeff Francis for a home run. He became the only player aside from Baltimore’s Don Buford (1969) to lead off the first game of the World Series with a home run and the first player to lead off a Series game with a homer since Johnny Damon in 2004, in the game that completed Boston’s sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Red Sox won the four games of that series by a total of 12 runs. They won by 12 on Wednesday too, a record for Game 1 and two shy of the record for any World Series game.

“It looks easy,” Lugo said. “It’s not that easy.”

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com


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