A strong start from Jon Lester and an offensive explosion midway though the game helped Boston take a 1-0 lead in its series against Tampa Bay. Lester allowed just three hits while the Red Sox scored eight runs on Matt Moore on their way to the 12-2 victory.
Although the Red Sox won handily, it took a few innings for Boston to get rolling. Instead, it was Tampa Bay jumping into the lead first, with a solo home run from Sean Rodriguez in the second inning. The run didn't come without controversy, however, as Lester nearly struck Rodriguez out on a borderline pitch the pitch before. Rodriguez took advantage of the ball call and deposited the next pitch into the left field seats.
Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning when Ben Zobrist's deep fly stayed fair down the left field line for the Rays' second solo home run.
The Rays' lead didn't last long. Dustin Pedroia led off the bottom of the fourth with a single before David Ortiz hit a high flyball to right field. Wil Myers was tracking the ball and appeared to have a beat on it before suddenly pulling up, allowing the ball to drop and bounce over the wall for a double.
Some initially speculated someone in the Red Sox bullpen or a fan in the stands may have called Myers off. Instead, the Rays right fielder said he saw Desmond Jennings out of the corner of his eye and thought Jennings was going to catch the ball.
Boston took advantage two batters later when Jonny Gomes just barely missed a home run, instead settling for a two-run double to left field.
Boston went on to score five runs in the inning and added three more in the fifth to take an 8-2 lead. The Red Sox capped the game with four more runs in the bottom of the eighth. Mike Napoli didn't have a huge game, finishing 1-for-4 with a RBI, but he did show off some impressive agility with a nifty slide into second to avoid a tag.
The series will continue with Game 2 on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 5:37 p.m. ET in Boston.