Mike Napoli’s Game 1 three-run double
Playing in their first World Series since 2007, the Red Sox showed early on why they were regarded as the best offense in the majors. In the first inning of Game 1, after a controversial call at second base was reversed and the Sox had the bases loaded with one out, Mike Napoli smashed a 2-and-0 pitch to deep left field and the ball carried all the way to the wall for a double.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia scored easily, but it was David Ortiz sprinting all the way around from first base that gave the Sox a 3-0 lead. The Red Sox would go on to win, 8-1, and make a strong statement that this team was no fluke.
Xander Bogaerts’s RBI single in Game 3
After the Red Sox came back to tie Game 3 at 2-2 with a run in the top of the sixth, the Cardinals looked to put the game on ice after Matt Holliday hit a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh for a 4-2 lead. In the top of the eighth, the Red Sox made it 4-3 on a one-out fielder’s choice by Daniel Nava that scored Shane Victorino. With two outs, and shutdown closer Trevor Rosenthal on the mound, it looked like the rally would end there, as rookie Xander Bogaerts stepped into the batter’s box.
Bogaerts, who wasn’t called up to Boston until late August, showed incredible poise during the playoffs, and was cool and collected in this high-pressure situation. After working a 1-and-1 count from Rosenthal, Bogaerts didn’t try to do too much and hit a ground-ball single up the middle to score Victorino and tie the game, 4-4. The Red Sox would end up losing on a controversial interference call on Will Middlebrooks with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. But, despite losing the game, the Red Sox knew they could rally at any point and, as the 21-year-old Bogaerts showed, with any player at the plate.
Jonny Gomes’s Game 4 three-run home run
Locked in another tight battle with the Cardinals in Game 4, the Red Sox had tied the game, 1-1, on a Stephen Drew sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. Jonny Gomes came up in the sixth with two on after Dustin Pedroia singled and David Ortiz walked. Against St. Louis pitcher Lance Lynn, Gomes worked the count to 2-and-2. Lynn tried to get Gomes with a breaking ball, but the Red Sox outfielder absolutely crushed it, launching a shot 387 feet into the Boston bullpen for a three-run homer.
The home run was the first hit of the series for Gomes, who had been 0 for 9. The Red Sox won the game, 4-2, tying the series at two games apiece and improving their record to 8-1 in postseason games that Gomes started.
Koji Uehara’s game-ending pickoff in Game 4
After Jonny Gomes’s three-run home run and a shutout eighth inning by surprise reliever John Lackey, the Red Sox held a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. As he has done since June, John Farrell brought in Koji Uehara to close out the game. After Daniel Descalso grounded out to second base, pinch hitter Allen Craig hit a deep fly ball over Daniel Nava’s head in right field. Craig, however, was hampered by a severe foot injury the entire series and could only hobble to first base; he was then lifted for pinch runner Kolten Wong.
Once he got the second out, with Matt Carpenter popping to second base, Uehara faced Carlos Beltran, statistically one of the greatest hitters in postseason history. After running the count to 1-and-1 on Beltran, Uehara surprised everyone — including the Fox camera operators — by throwing over to first base to check on the runner. Wong had gotten a bit too far off and was caught mid-step as Uehara threw back to first, picking him off and leaving Beltran standing in the batter’s box while the Red Sox celebrated. It was the first time in postseason history that a game ended on a pickoff.
David Ross’s RBI double in Game 5
After tying the series with a win in Game 4, the Red Sox were looking to seize control knowing that Game 5 would be the last game they played away from Fenway Park. The Cardinals’ Matt Holliday tied the game with a solo home run in the fourth, and it remained 1-1 through six innings. In the top of the seventh, rookie third baseman Xander Bogaerts singled with one out and Stephen Drew walked to move Bogaerts to second, bringing up catcher David Ross.
Playing more for his defense and rapport with pitcher Jon Lester, Ross fell behind pitcher Adam Wainwright, 1-and-2, but then pulled a hard hit that just landed in fair territory down the left-field line. The ball bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double, scoring Bogaerts and moving Drew to third. Drew would score on a single by Jacoby Ellsbury, and Ross would guide the pitching staff to a 3-1 win that gave the Red Sox a 3-2 series lead and a chance to clinch the World Series at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918.
Jon Lester’s dominant World Series
Labeled one of the culprits of the “chicken and beer’’ fiasco that defined the 2011 collapse and hung over the Red Sox during their painful 69-win 2012 season, Jon Lester regained his form in 2013, going 15-8 with a 3.75 ERA. But it was in the postseason that Lester’s resurgence truly came to fruition, as he won two of his three starts in the ALDS and ALCS with a 2.33 ERA. In the World Series, Lester got the ball for Game 1 against St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright and just dominated the Cardinals, going 7.2 innings and allowing no runs on just five hits and one walk with eight strikeouts, in a game the Red Sox won, 8-1.
After falling behind in the series and then tying it up heading into Game 5, the Red Sox knew how pivotal this game would be. Lester faced off with Wainwright again and got more of the same results, pitching 7.2 innings again and allowing just one run, a solo home run by Matt Holliday, on just four hits and no walks while striking out seven. Lester finished the postseason with a 2.11 ERA in five starts, allowing six runs in 34.2 innings. With his two wins against the Cardinals, Lester also joined Babe Ruth as the only Red Sox lefthanders to win three World Series games (his first win was in Game 4 of the 2007 World Series).
Shane Victorino’s three-run double in Game 6
After sitting out Games 4 and 5 with an injured back, Shane Victorino was reinserted into the lineup for Game 6, with the Sox hoping to clinch the World Series at home. In the bottom of the third inning, Victorino came up with the bases loaded in a 0-0 game and laced a double off the left-field wall. Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz scored easily, but Jonny Gomes also came barreling around third base on a mission to score the third run.
Yadier Molina got the ball and tried to make a diving tag, but Gomes was in safe and Victorino advanced to third on the throw. Victorino had been struggling in the World Series and had been dropped to sixth in the batting order, but he came up clutch when it mattered to give the Red Sox the early lead.
John Lackey’s remarkable turnaround
Heading into the 2013 season, John Lackey was an afterthought to Red Sox Nation. Disappointing years in 2010 and 2011 were followed by a missed season in 2012 due to Tommy John surgery. That, along with pages and pages of negative publicly off the field, made some fans wonder whether Lackey’s huge contract was the worst in Red Sox history. But Lackey dedicated himself to getting in shape and proving everyone wrong in 2013. He quietly turned everything around, and despite a mediocre won-lost record, he became one of the most reliable pitchers on the staff. Lackey shook off a tough ALDS start against the Rays by throwing a game for the ages in Game 3 of the ALCS, outdueling former AL MVP Justin Verlander in Detroit. He pitched well enough to win Game 2 of the World Series, but the Red Sox defense and a lack of run support couldn’t get him the W.
With the Red Sox coming home with a 3-2 lead for Game 6, Lackey had a chance to complete the full-circle journey and go from being part of Red Sox infamy to part of Red Sox lore. He didn’t disappoint, throwing 6.2 innings and allowing just one run, leaving to a standing ovation that would have been impossible to imagine less than a year ago. The Sox offense finally came through for him, scoring six times for a comfortable 6-1 win and making Lackey the only pitcher in baseball history to start and win World Series-clinching games for two different teams.
David Ortiz’s historic World Series
No one expected David Ortiz, at 37 years old, to be the same player that he was on the Red Sox’ 2004 world championship team. And he wasn’t; he was better. Ortiz hit an incredible .688 in the series, smacking two home runs and driving in six runs, and those numbers were one incredible Carlos Beltran catch from being .706/3/9.
Ortiz’s .688 average and .760 on-base percentage were second-best all-time in the World Series to Billy Hatcher in 1990.
Surprising no one, Ortiz was named World Series MVP as he won his third championship ring. In three World Series appearances, Ortiz is 20 for 44 for a .454 batting average, the best ever among players with at least 50 plate appearances.
Koji Uehara continues his incredible run
When closers Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey both went down with season-ending injuries by mid-June, it looked as though the Red Sox’ back-of-the-bullpen strength was lost. But in came Koji Uehara, who went on one of the greatest four-month runs of any pitcher in history. Heading into the World Series, with the rest of the bullpen somewhat shaky, John Farrell knew he could still rely on Uehara to get the Red Sox out of tough spots.
Uehara made five appearances in the World Series, allowing just two hits and no runs in 4.2 innings of work. He struck out three and recorded two big saves, both on the road in Games 4 and 5. With the Sox leading, 6-1, heading into the ninth inning of Game 6, there was no question whom Farrell was going to bring into the game to finish off the Cardinals. Uehara got two fly outs and struck out the final batter to give the Red Sox their third World Series championship in 10 years.