Josh Beckett had hardly finished striking out three Rockies before Pedroia, the Red Sox's rookie second baseman and leadoff man, pounded a low, 89-mph Jeff Francis fastball over the lip of the Green Monster. Before Wednesday night, only one player in 102 previous World Series had led off Game 1 with a home run: Don Buford of the Baltimore Orioles, who hit a solo shot off the Mets' Tom Seaver in 1969. Pedroia also became the first rookie in history to lead off a World Series with a homer.
"I didn't think too much about it," Pedroia said. "I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit and get on base, and I was fortunate enough that it got out."
The Red Sox will hope for a better result than Buford's Orioles. After winning Game 1 behind Buford's home run and a dominant effort by Mike Cuellar, the '69 Orioles dropped four straight against the famed "Miracle Mets," a lingering sore spot for Baltimore's sports fans.
With his home run, Pedroia became the 18th player in history to lead off a World Series game with a home run. His recent power binge has come at just the right time for the Red Sox, whose late surge in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series started with a seventh-inning Pedroia blast. The Boston second baseman hit eight home runs in his rookie season.
The Red Sox added two more runs in the bottom of the first. In his second at-bat of the game, Pedroia grounded out to third.
Alex McPhillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.