Mark Bellhorn's home run in the eighth inning gave Boston Red Sox the edge as they took game one of the World Series 11-9 against the St Louis Cardinals.
Bellhorn (number 12) is congratulated by his Red Sox team-mates
With the scores tied at 9-9, Bellhorn's homer yielded two runs, to take Boston clear of their rivals at Fenway Park.
Manny Ramirez had reason to be grateful to Bellhorn after his fielding errors had allowed St Louis back in the match.
St Louis fought back from 4-0 down on Saturday but will have to come from behind in the best-of-seven series.
Boston wasted no time in establishing themselves on the scoreboard with David Ortiz continuing his brilliant post-season form.
Ortiz hit another homer, his fifth of the play-offs, in the first inning to give Boston a 3-0 lead.
And that was soon followed up by Kevin Millar scoring off Bill Mueller's single to put Boston in control.
But St Louis responded through Jim Edmonds who singled, advanced on a walk and then scored on a pair of sacrifices in the second inning.
Larry Walker's homer around the right-field pole in the third brought the Cardinals back to 4-2 before the Red Sox added three runs in the third inning after Woody Williams' pitching went awry.
The Red Sox loaded the bases and Johnny Damon, Orlando Cabrera and Ramirez all added RBI singles for a 7-2 Boston lead.
St Louis worked away at that lead though, and some fielding mistakes from Boston helped the Cardinals' cause.
And by the sixth inning they had brought the scores level at 7-7.
Boston held their nerve though and went back into the lead thanks to seventh inning singles from Ortiz and Ramirez.
But the good work was nearly undone by Ramirez's carelessness in the field as he made errors in successive plays to gift two runs back to the Cardinals.
Bellhorn's strike bailed his team out of trouble, and the Boston pitchers did enough to hold onto the win.
"In the play-offs everything seems like a critical moment but you've just got to think of the positives," said Bellhorn.
"Any game can be pivotal, or have a pivotal play. You've just got to live in the present and that's what I try to do.
"I'm not here to be a hero. I'm just here to try and win four games."
Game Two is in Boston on Sunday.