BOSTON — Given a bit of help by the umpires and a lot more by the Cardinals, the Red Sox turned this World Series opener into a laugher.
Mike Napoli hit a three-run double right after the umpires reversed a blown call, Jon Lester made an early lead stand and Boston romped past sloppy St. Louis 8-1 Wednesday night for its ninth straight Series win.
"That was fun, wasn't it?" catcher David Ross said.
"Not bad," added DH David Ortiz.
"We played a very good game all around," manager John Farrell said.
Ortiz was robbed of a grand slam by Carlos Beltran — a catch that sent the star rightfielder to a hospital with bruised ribs — but "Big Papi" later hit a two-run homer after 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 thanks to an embarrassing display by the Cardinals, coasted Wednesday at Fenway Park.
"That is not the kind of team that we've been all season," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "We had a wakeup call. They're frustrated. I'm sure embarrassed to a point."
It got so bad for St. Louis that the sellout crowd 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.
Matheny didn't find anything funny, especially when the umpires huddled in the first inning and reversed a call by Dana DeMuth at second base.
The six-man crew correctly ruled that Kozma had not caught a soft toss from second baseman Matt Carpenter on a slow grounder by Ortiz. A season before Major League Baseball employs full replay, fans got to see a wrong get righted.
"There's five of us out here, okay? And all five of us agreed 100 percent that it wasn't a catch. Our job is to get it right," crew chief John Hirschbeck told Matheny on audio played on the Fox telecast.
"What was explained was they wanted to get the call right," Matheny said. "And they got together as a group and five of them believed that the call was different than the one that was made.
"That's not a play I've ever seen before. And I'm pretty sure there were six umpires on the field that had never seen that play before.
"It's a pretty tough time to debut that overruled call in the World Series. I get … trying to get the right call. I get that. Tough one to swallow."
The normally slick Cardinals looked sloppy at every turn. Wainwright bounced a pickoff throw, Molina let a pitch skitter off his mitt, centerfielder Shane Robinson bobbled the carom on Napoli's double, and there was a wild pitch.
In the seventh, Freese's error immediately preceded another long drive from Ortiz off fireballing lefty specialist Kevin Siegrist. Ortiz cleared the bullpens in right for a two-run shot, his fourth of October.
"I made sure I hit it a little farther to make sure nobody could catch it," Ortiz said. "You've got to do what you've got to do. I still can hit fastballs."
Lester blanked the Cardinals on five hits over 7⅔ innings for his third win this postseason.
Matt Holliday's homer in the ninth inning off Ryan Dempster helped the Cardinals avoid the shutout.
"It's just the beginning," Ortiz said. "We've got to come back hungry (today)."