Gullett was removed by Reds Manager Sparky Anderson, a man famously impatient with his starters. But Gullett's successors, Clay Carroll and Will McEnaney, fared poorly at the hot hands of the Red Sox. Carroll survived only long enough to walk Fisk with the bases loaded. McEnaney then entered and struck out Lynn, but Petrocelli singled to left, scoring two runs, Burleson singled in another and Cooper's sacrifice fly scored the sixth and final run.
Tiant, who started the inning, ended it by popping out. The Sox had batted around, gotten five hits and scored all the runs they would need. It was the biggest World Series inning since Detroit scored 10 times against the Cardinals in the third inning of the sixth game in 1968. Tiant, the "Loo-ey, Loo-ey" chant from his fans spurring him on, retired the Reds in order in the remaining two innings. His was the first complete game in a Series since Steve Blass finished one for Pittsburgh in 1971. His shutout was the first in a Series opener in seven years.
Tiant and his 70-year-old father, Luis Sr., shared the attentions of the press in the steamy Red Sox clubhouse. The elder Tiant had arrived in Boston from Cuba in time to see his son, who at 34 is himself no chicken, pitch the Sox to a division championship, a pennant and now a win in the World Series. Luis Sr.'s thin copper face fairly shone with pride under a floppy fedora. Asked facetiously if his son learned his famous corkscrew windup from him, the father solemnly replied, "No." The son sat in the training room soaking his right elbow in ice water and responding dryly to myriad inquiries. "I never give up," he said, effectively summarizing his day. "I had pretty good stuff when I wanted it."
The Reds did score one minor triumph over Tiant. For several days before the game, Anderson had complained that Tiant had a pickoff move to first base that was clearly a balk. Meetings were held on the matter with umpires and Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. At the time, it seemed little more than routine harassment. And in the first three innings Saturday, Tiant's move to first base went untested since no one from Cincinnati got that far. But with one out in the fourth, Morgan singled and Tiant was called for a balk on one of his pickoff attempts. According to First Base Umpire Nick Colosi, he had been guilty of "a double dip with the knee.... Moving the knee is the breaking point to throw [to home plate] and he moved it twice." Colosi, significantly, is a National League umpire.
But the balk was a mere trifle. Nothing the Reds did hurt Tiant all day. Although they played well on defense, the visitors did not seem as well prepared or as inspired as the Red Sox. Yaz, probably the most inspired of them all, had an explanation for this early advantage: "We had constant pressure from Baltimore at the end of the season and this prepared us for the playoffs and the World Series."
That may be, but what was even more obvious was that on this day the Red Sox were still the hottest team in creation. All the Reds could hope to do was observe Anderson's sage counsel: "Stay calm."
His club has its "ugly" moments, Sparky Anderson conceded, sounding the way Clark Gable must have when talking about his ears. "But over the course of a year, you won't see a better baseball team than the Cincinnati Reds." On Sunday, at least, that appraisal seemed accurate enough. The Reds had a few ugly moments, most of them occurring while they swung impotently at Red Sox lefthander Bill Lee's tempting blooper changeup, but when they had to be, they were what they have always claimed to be, The Best Team in Baseball. Not that the Red Sox, in losing 3-2 to a ninth-inning rally, embarrassed themselves. Far from it. They were as plucky and tenacious as ever, but their luck finally ran out, as it had to.
This was a superb game of baseball, played in conditions better suited to a staging of The Hound of the Baskervilles. If Saturday's opening-day weather was unsuitable for baseball, Sunday's was impossible. As Sunday dawned, the black of night became the black of day. It was cold. It was windy. And it was raining. There were more yellow rain hats at Fenway than Red Sox caps, although one fan, a Harvard man named Kissinger, dauntlessly wore one through the heaviest downpours, fearlessly, if undiplomatically, advertising his allegiance to another overflow crowd of 35,205. Kissinger and his fellow fans should be applauded for their durability on a day that would seem inclement in Green Bay, Wisconsin. But television commitments left no question that the game would be played, even if the field were under three inches of water.
Once again, the Reds and Red Sox seemed unaware of their surroundings, playing as if on a dry track. There were fully as many defensive marvels performed on this muddy sward as on the somewhat firmer surface of the day before. In a remarkable sixth inning, the Sox staved off three of the Reds' best hitters with a series of uncanny stabs and throws. With the score tied 1-1, Rose timed one of Lee's bloopers properly and hit a sharp ground single to left field. Morgan, after arguing unsuccessfully that he was brushed by a Lee pitch inside, followed with another ground ball that was headed through the hole between first and second and toward right field until it was intercepted by a flying Cecil Cooper. Since Cooper had been holding Rose on first base, it is amazing that he could even reach the ball, let alone do what he did, which was scramble to his knees and throw Rose out at second. This still left Morgan on first. To counteract him, there was Lee, who had picked off 11 runners this year. The cat-and-mouse game was played only halfheartedly, however, as Lee did not make a serious effort at catching Little Joe napping, contenting himself with soft, precautionary throws.