Red Sox 12, Rays 2
BOSTON -- Jon Lester allowed three hits in 7 and two-thirds innings and the Boston Red Sox took advantage of poor Tampa Bay defense in a five-run fourth to beat the Rays 12-2 on Friday in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
Lester gave up a pair of solo homers into the Monster Seats, but he got the lead back when the Rays fell apart in the fourth. One ball fell between two outfielders, another took a bad hop off the Green Monster standings, one batter reached safely on a dropped third strike and another when pitcher Matt Moore was slow to cover first.
By the time it was over, the Red Sox were ahead 5-2 and on their way to the early lead in the best-of-five series. Game 2 is on Tonight at Fenway Park.
Pirates 7, Cardinals 1
ST. LOUIS -- Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates played a game of role reversal, and pulled even with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The hard-throwing rookie gave up two hits in six dominant innings and also had an RBI in his postseason debut, Pedro Alvarez homered for the second straight day and the Pirates beat the Cardinals 7-1 Friday to even their National League Division series at one game apiece.
"Just what we've been seeing all year," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "You saw a focused man that was ready to go."
A day after St. Louis got a strong effort from its starter and took advantage of mistakes to romp 9-1 in the opener, the Pirates showed poise for their first playoff win since 1992 while the Cardinals looked tentative in the field.
The Pirates now head home for Game 3 Sunday in the best-of-five series. Wild Card game winner Francisco Liriano faces Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly.
Cole faced the Cardinals for the first time and left most of them shaking their heads, striking out five and walking one. After allowing Carlos Beltran's double with one out in the first, the 22-year-old retired 11 straight before Yadier Molina led off the fifth with his third career postseason homer.
Relying on a fastball that peaked at 99 mph on the stadium radar gun and one that TBS had at 100, Cole had hitters helpless at times even without shadows that benefited pitchers early in Game 1.
Braves 4, Dodgers 3
ATLANTA -- Mike Minor pitched six strong innings, Jason Heyward had a two-run single and the Atlanta Braves held on for a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night, evening the National League Division Series at one game apiece.
The Braves turned three double plays, the most important coming to end a Dodgers threat in the seventh with Atlanta clinging to a 2-1 lead. Luis Avilan got it started by backhanding Carl Crawford's grounder to the mound.
Hanley Ramirez drove in all three Dodgers runs with a first-inning double and a two-run homer in the eighth, just clearing the wall after a one-handed swing off David Carpenter.
Craig Kimbrel walked two in the ninth but fanned Crawford for the save. Backup catcher Gerald Laird helped, too, throwing out pinch-runner Dee Gordon in a close play at second base.