The Boston Red Sox got to Clayton Kershaw early, then held on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 in Game 1 of the 2018 World Series.

Red Sox Dodgers World Series
Eduardo Nunez celebrates after hitting a three-run home run for the Boston Red Sox against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the 2018 World Series. (Image: David J. Phillip/AP)

The Red Sox offense was powered by four hits from outfielder Andrew Benintendi and a late pinch hit home run by Eduardo Nunez that helped to put the game away.

Nunez Makes Impact Off Bench

Nunez came off the bench in the seventh inning to hit a three-run homer off of Alex Wood, allowing him to make a huge contribution despite not getting the Game 1 start.

When he came in, he probably was a little bit disappointed that he didnt start, because hes been starting against every lefty, Boston manager Alex Cora said after the game. But we felt [Rafael Devers] was going to hang in there with Kershaw. And having [Nunez] on the bench, it was going to pay offso keeping him in the dugout and out of the lineup was going to probably give us a chance to win the game.

While Nunez may have been somewhat frustrated by starting on the bench, he said that he understood his managers decision.

He told me he would have the left-handed hitter going against Kershaw, Nunez said after the game. But Im going to be prepared, seventh, eighth inning, late in the game, if they bring in a lefty for Devers. So that was the plan and we did it.

No Pitching Duel as Starters Struggle

A game that had been billed as a meeting between two of the leagues premier pitchers turned out to be more of a slugfest, with both Kershaw and Chris Sale lasting just four innings. Kershaw had a particularly difficult time, giving up five runs on seven hits and three walks in taking the loss.

I dont think [Kershaw] had the fastball command that he typically does, missing up in the zone, said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. I dont think his slider had the depth that were used to seeing. And those guys, to their credit, put some good at-bats on him.

The win gives Boston an early advantage in the World Series. Historically, teams that win Game 1 at home have won 66 percent of the time in seven-game MLB playoff series. On the other hand, Kershaw referenced his teams recent history to suggest that the loss might not be all bad.

We won Game 1 last year and lost the Series, Kershaw said. So maybe well try it out this way.

Game 2 will see the Dodgers send Hyun-Jin Ryu to the mound to face off against David Price in a battle of left-handed starters. Oddsmakers see the Red Sox as the favorite to win again at home, with Bwin listing Boston as a -139 favorite to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

The Red Sox came into the World Series as the favorite, and have only cemented that status by taking an early 1-0 lead. William Hill now lists Boston as a 4/11 favorite to win the series, while the Dodgers can be backed at 11/5.