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Red Sox return home a team on the verge

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  October 29, 2013 01:28 AM

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ST. LOUIS — The Red Sox have won the World Series seven times. But not since 1918 have they clinched the championship at Fenway Park.

That was on Sept. 11, to be exact. Lefthander Carl Mays threw a complete game in a 2-1 victory against the Chicago Cubs. Babe Ruth was a defensive replacement in left field. He had already won two games.

Now, 95 years later, the Red Sox have two chances to win one game and host the party to end all parties in Boston. They beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-1, on Monday and now lead the World Series three games to two.

The Red Sox can become the first team since the 1991 Minnesota Twins to go from last place in their division to World Series champions in the span of a year. Game 6 will be on Wednesday night.

“I can’t image what Fenway is going to be like for that game,” Shane Victorino said. “The fans are going to be amazing.”

In a rematch of aces, Lester again got the better of Adam Wainwright, giving up one run on four hits with seven strikeouts. In 15.1 innings against Lester, the Cardinals have scored one run.

“How many times can you throw the best game of your life?” teammate Ryan Dempster said.

Good question. In three career World Series starts, Lester has thrown 21 innings, allowed one run and won all three games.

“The time is now,” Lester said. “We've got to win now and that's all you can really do. That's all you can really focus on.”

Koji Uehara got the final four outs for his seventh save in this postseason. He has faced 12 batters in the Series and retired 10 of them.

“Our Mariano Rivera,” pitching coach Juan Nieves said.

David Ortiz was 3 for 4 with an RBI double. He is 11 of 15 in the Series with six runs batted in and four extra-base hits. Ortiz has reached base in 14 of 19 plate appearances.

“I was born for this,” Ortiz said, smiling.

Lester was holding his oldest son, Hudson, when he spoke to reporters in the interview room after the game. When Ortiz took the chair next to him, Hudson reached out to hug him.

“I haven't played with many superstars but this guy right here is the epitome of a superstar and a good teammate,” Lester said. “I don't think you could ever ask for more out of an individual than what he does on and off the field. The guy's got a heart of gold. And he goes out there every single night and competes.”

David Ross, an aging backup catcher who missed two months with a concussion so severe that he was sent home to recover, drove in the winning run with a double in the seventh inning.

Ross was so excited afterward that he stayed in the interview room for 15 minutes, enjoying his moment in the spotlight. When Lester showed up, Ross asked MLB vice president Phyllis Merhige if he could stay and watch.

"It definitely hasn't sunk in. There's no way to get too excited, because you know we still have a lot of work to do. I won't let myself get too excited, because we have a really good team that we still have to beat one more game," Ross said.

"The signature moment, I think that's what everybody lives for. But I''m just in awe of being in the World Series, really. That's as signature as it gets. I'm on the podium, again, talking to you guys, with the whole World Series thing behind me, right? That's when you see people on TV. I'm stoked."

A few notes:

• Ortiz is 20 of 42 (.476) in World Series play, the highest average among players with at least 50 plate appearances. Ortiz has 14 RBIs in the Series, the most among active players.

• Lester is 6-4 with a 2.11 ERA in 13 postseason appearances, 11 starts. The six wins are tied with Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez for the most in team history. He is the first pitcher to throw at least 7.2 innings in consecutive World Series starts in the same season since Greg Maddux of the Braves in 1996.

Lester also has four wins in this postseason, matching the team record first set by Josh Beckett in 2007. Lester went 16.2 innings in the World Series before giving up a run. Only Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson had a longer streak to start his career.

• MLB is a major supporter of the Stand Up To Cancer program. Part of the effort encourages people to hold signs with the name of a person they know who was affected by cancer.

On the door of their clubhouse, the Red Sox had a placard saying they stood up for Michael Weiner, the executive director of the MLB Players Association. Weiner is battling an inoperable brain tumor and is in the thoughts of every player.

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