10/24/2004 2:37 AM ET
Ortiz blasts HR in first Series at-bat
DH takes first pitch into right-field seats, drives in three
By Jim Street / MLB.com
|David Ortiz celebrates after his three-run homer in the first inning of Game 1. (Elise Amendola/AP)
BOSTON -- When you're hot, you're hot -- even when it's not.
It was a frigid night at Fenway Park on Saturday, but that didn't keep Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz from doing what he does best -- hit baseballs into seats and drive runners home.
The first swing he took in the World Series produced a familiar sight -- a home run that jump-started the American League champions to a wild 11-9 victory over the Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series.
"It was freezing out there and that's not good for a Dominican kid," said Ortiz after becoming the 28th player in the 100 years Major League baseball has played the Fall Classic to hit a home run in his first at-bat.
He picked up right where he left off against the Yankees in the seven-game AL Championship Series and the five-game Division Series against the Angels.
"The guy has been remarkable and deserves all the props he's getting right now," Red Sox outfielder Gabe Kapler said. "He understands that he needs to stay calm and not get worked up, and you watch his body language and see that he never rushes."
That slow, deliberate swing packs quite a wallop.
Ortiz now has 19 RBIs in the 11 postseason games he has played this year, tying the single-season record previously shared by Sandy Alomar Jr. of the Indians (1997) and Scott Spiezio of the Angels (2002).
"If they keep throwing him pitches to hit, he'll keep hitting them," Kapler said.
Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan agreed that the pitch starter Woody Williams threw Ortiz in the first inning was a mistake.
"It was a strike when it should have been a ball, down and in," Duncan said.
In an instant, the ball was up and out.
Ortiz, who hit four home runs during the first two rounds of the playoffs -- including a two-run, first-inning dinger against the Yankees in the decisive seventh game of the ALCS -- sent the capacity crowd into a frenzy.
The only question after Ortiz's bat made contact with the baseball was whether it would stay on the fair side of Pesky's Pole.
It did -- barely -- and the Sox were off and running in their first World Series appearance since 1986. Anaheim Angels third baseman Troy Glaus had been the last to hit a home run in his first World Series at-bat, accomplishing the feat in 2002.
"I thought it would go foul," Ortiz said. "That's why I stayed at the plate watching it. I hit it really good, and before it started hooking, it was past the pole, fair by only this far (holding his hands about 12 inches apart)."
Ortiz's home run scored Johnny Damon from third base and Orlando Cabrera from first. Damon opened the inning with a double to left field and Cabrera was hit by a Williams fastball that sailed inside, glanced off the hitter's left shoulder and struck him on the chin.
|With his three-run homer in the first inning of Game 1, David Ortiz became the 28th player to homer in his first World Series at-bat, and only the second Red Sox player to do so. Pitcher Jose Santiago did it for Boston in the third inning of Game 1 in 1967 vs. St. Louis. Anaheim's Troy Glaus was the last player to accomplish the feat, when he slugged a homer in the second inning of Game 1 in 2002.|
The dazed Cabrera shook it off and remained in the game.
After Ortiz went deep, Kevin Millar rapped a double high off the wall, went to third on a long fly ball to right field and scored on Bill Mueller's single past third base.
The four first inning runs were the most in a Game 1 since 1979, when the Baltimore Orioles had a four-run first against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who went on to win the World Series in seven games.
Ortiz also became the second player in Red Sox history to hit a home run in his first World Series at-bat. Pitcher Jose Santiago did it in the 1967 Series against the Cardinals.
The DH ended his long night with a seventh-inning run-scoring single off second baseman Tony Womack's left collarbone, knocking in a run and knocking Womack out of the game.
The four RBIs tied the club record for the most in a World Series game. Carl Yastrzemski, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Game 1, drove in four runs in Game 2 of the 1967 Fall Classic against the Cardinals.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.