The 2013 World Champions

It was three o’clock in the morning, and fans were still buzzing excitedly at Fenway Park. Hours earlier, their beloved Red Sox had won their first World Series title at Fenway Park in 95 years, beating the St. Louis Cardinals in an instant fall classic. No one could have predicted the stunning twists and turns the Series would take; from the pickoff that ended Game 3 to the controversial calls that pervaded the series, this year’s series gave baseball fans everything they could ask for. Even the fans of the losing team, the St. Louis Cardinals, acknowledged the excitement and drama this October held.

The tone of the series was set immediately in Game 1. Errors from St. Louis shortstop Pete Kozma in the first and second innings helped the Red Sox score early and often. Though fan favorite David Ortiz—better known by his moniker “Big Papi”—was robbed of a grand slam by Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran, the Sox still scored three runs in the first inning and two more in the second. Of course, the eventual series MVP (Most Valuable Player) Ortiz hit a home run later in the game to make up for the one Beltran had denied him, and finished with two hits in three at-bats. Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester outpitched Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, and Boston trounced St. Louis with an easy 8-1 win in Game 1.

Game 2, though, resulted in a huge shift in momentum for the Cardinals. Rookie Michael Wacha pitched a great game for St. Louis, holding the mighty Red Sox lineup to only two runs on a big Ortiz home run that temporarily gave the Red Sox the lead; however, even Big Papi could not single-handedly save this game, as Boston wound up losing by the final score of 4-2.

The series, intense and hard-fought leading up to Game 3, took a strange turn in the ninth inning of this game. With the score tied, and the winning runs on second and third base with only one out, second baseman Dustin Pedroia snared a groundball and fired home to catch Yadier Molina trying to score the winning run. However, catcher Jarrod Saltalacchia then noticed Allen Craig hobbling toward third base, and in an effort to throw him out, threw the ball down the left field line. But the alert Red Sox defense gathered the ball and fired home, appearing to easily tag out the injured Craig for the inning’s third out. However, third base umpire Jim Joyce had signaled obstruction, allowing the run to score and for the first time ever, a World Series game to end on an obstruction call. The call was shocking to both the fans and the players; everyone had an opinion. Some thought the right call was made; others thought the call was correct but should not have been made to end such an important game. Even Cardinals fans, though they believed that the umpires got the right call, thought that it didn’t seem fitting that such a close game would end on such a call. Correct call or not, nevertheless St. Louis took the game 5-4 and also the Series lead.

But Boston would not be denied its championship. After a tough Game 3 loss, the Red Sox scratched out a crucial Game 4 victory to tie the series. In the sixth inning, with the Red Sox controlling a small lead, the Red Sox started a rally that forced Lance Lynn out of the game. After reliever Seth Maness came in and threw two balls and two strikes, outfielder Jonny Gomes swatted a monstrous three-run home run over the left-center field fence. Gomes’s big shot would end up defining the outcome of the game, as the Sox won by a score of 4-2.

In their last game in St. Louis, the Red Sox pitted their ace, John Lester, against St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright, and Wainwright allowed only a single home run to Matt Holliday. On the other hand, Big Papi continued his phenomenal postseason play with yet another RBI. The game ended with 3-1 win for the Red Sox, who were now one victory away from winning it all.

The series ended a game later at Fenway Park. The reliable veteran John Lackey started for the Sox, defeating rookie phenom Michael Wacha for his first time this October, tagging him for six runs in only a little more than three innings of work. Outfielder Shane Victorino led the way, swatting a big three-run double off the Green Monster, giving him four RBIs in total. Stephen Drew also added a solo home run, and Mike Napoli had an RBI single. Koji Uehara closed out both the game and the postseason, and Fenway Park saw its first World Series championship celebration since 1918.

The Red Sox’s performance this past season was truly inspirational and the epitome of persevering and working hard to rise from worst to first in a single season. Returners and newcomers revived the clubhouse chemistry and atmosphere, gave it their all each and every day, and together climbed to the pinnacle of the league. The band of scruffy-faced and hard-nosed competitors worked together as a team to bring the trophy back to Boston, and along the way inspired what it meant to be Boston Strong.

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