2013 World Series
The Curse of the Bambino had already been lifted, but could the Boston Red Sox win a championship at Fenway Park (a feat last accomplished in 1918)?
The 2013 World Series was a best-of-seven playoff pitting the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals against the American League champion Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox had home field advantage for the 109th edition of the Fall Classic, based on the American League's win in the All-Star Game at Citi Field in Queens, New York, on July 16, 2013.
During Game 1 of the 2013 World Series, Boston starter Jon Lester was brilliant for the Red Sox, pitching 7 2/3 scoreless innings. However, Cardinals' ace Adam Wainwright found trouble in the bottom of the first inning. He walked leadoff batter Jacoby Ellsbury and after an out, Dustin Pedroia singled. Wainwright then got David Ortiz to ground to second base, but Matt Carpenter's flip was mishandled by shortstop Pete Kozma, ending the possibility of a double play. Initially, the Cardinals had been awarded a force-out at second base, but after conferring, the umpires ruled that Kozma never had control of the ball, and Pedroia was reinstated at second base. With the bases loaded and one out, Mike Napoli doubled to left-center, scoring Ellsbury, Pedroia and Ortiz, the latter after Shane Robinson misplayed a carom off the wall. In the bottom of the second inning, Stephen Drew led off with a pop-up in front of the pitcher's mound. Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina both converged, but both let the ball drop for a leadoff single. David Ross then singled to center field, followed by a flyout by Ellsbury. Shane Victorino then hit a ground ball to deep short, but Kozma again mishandled it, his second error of the game, and once again the bases were loaded with one out. Pedroia then singled under the glove of a diving David Freese to make the score 4–0. Ortiz then hit a deep fly to right field, but was robbed of a grand slam by Carlos Beltran. Ross did tag and score to give Boston a 5–0 lead - one that was never seriously challenged across all nine innings.
The National League Championship Series MVP Michael Wacha faced the Red Sox' John Lackey in Game 2. After three scoreless innings, Matt Holliday led off the fourth inning for the Cardinals with a triple to center field. After Matt Adams lined out, catcher Yadier Molina grounded out softly to Dustin Pedroia to score Holliday and give the Cardinals a 10 lead. The Red Sox threatened in the bottom half as the first two batters reached with Pedroia leading off with a double and David Ortiz drawing a walk. Mike Napoli then grounded into a double play to partially kill the threat and Wacha got Jonny Gomes to pop out to Matt Carpenter to end the inning. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Red Sox finally got on the scoreboard as Pedroia walked with one out and Ortiz hit a two-run home run to left center field on a 32 changeup to give the Red Sox a 21 lead. In the seventh inning, the Red Sox' defense let them down. With one out and the bases loaded (David Freese walked, Jon Jay singled, Daniel Descalso walked), Carpenter hit a fly ball to Gomes in left field for the second out. With Pete Kozma, who pinch-ran for Freese, scoring on the throw, the ball got away from catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Jay and Descalso attempted to advance on the misplay and pitcher Craig Breslow, who was backing up on the play, tried to get Jay at third but his throw was wild and went into the stands. Jay scored and Descalsco went to third as the Cardinals now led 32. Carlos Beltran then singled to right to score Descalso and give the Cardinals a 42 lead. Things got a little interesting in the bottom of the eighth. With Carlos Martinez on the mound for the Cardinals, the Red Sox had Jacoby Ellsbury reach on an error and after two strikeouts, Ortiz reached on a single. With two outs, Martinez jammed Napoli and he popped out to short to end the inning. In the bottom of the ninth with the 42 lead, Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal entered the game and made quick work of the Red Sox by striking out Gomes, Saltalamacchia and pinch-hitter Daniel Nava on 11 pitches. The Cardinals evened up the series at one game each as the series shifted to St. Louis for the next three games.
In Game 3, the Cardinals got off to a good start in the bottom of the first inning, putting two on the board from RBI singles by Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina off of Boston starter Jake Peavy. It wasn't until the top of the fifth inning before the Red Sox got on the board themselves, when pinch hitter Mike Carp grounded into a fielder's choice off Cardinals starter Joe Kelly. In the next inning, Boston tied the game at 22 on a Daniel Nava single. But in the bottom of the seventh, Matt Holliday hit a line drive off of reliever Junichi Tazawa that just got past a diving Xander Bogaerts that drove in two, and Holliday advanced to third on the throw. Even though this happened with no outs, Holliday was stranded at third. Boston quickly responded in the top of the eighth by loading the bases off Carlos Martνnez. Trevor Rosenthal came in to pitch, and the first batter he faced, Daniel Nava, grounded in to a fielder's choice, after a great diving stop by rookie second baseman Kolten Wong. The next batter, Xander Bogaerts, bounced a ball up the middle for an RBI single of his own, knotting the game at 44.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Brandon Workman stayed in, having pitched in the eighth inning and batted in the top of the ninth. He gave up a one out single to Molina. Boston closer Koji Uehara was brought in to face pinch hitter Allen Craig, who doubled on the first pitch. With one out, Jon Jay hit a grounder to second baseman Dustin Pedroia. He made a sensational diving stab and threw home to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who tagged out the sliding Molina. But then Saltalamacchia threw to third trying to get Craig, who was running on the play and decided to slide towards Middlebrooks knocking him down. However, the ball glanced off Will Middlebrooks' glove and Craig's body, caroming into foul territory down the line. When Craig started toward home, he ran over Middlebrooks, slowing him down as he tried to take off for home. The third base umpire, Jim Joyce, called obstruction on the play; home plate umpire Dana DeMuth determined that Craig would have scored without the obstruction, giving the Cardinals the win and a 21 lead in the World Series.
Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, pitching through a shoulder injury, was removed from Game 4 for a pinch-hitter after four innings, five Red Sox relievers combined to hold St. Louis to one run on three hits the rest of the way. In the sixth inning, the bases were empty with two outs before Dustin Pedroia singled and David Ortiz walked. Then, outfielder Jonny Gomes came to bat and the Cardinals brought in Seth Maness to face him. Gomes worked the count to 22 before he broke the tie with a three-run homer that would become the difference in the game. The game ended when Boston closer Koji Uehara picked off pinch runner Kolten Wong with Carlos Beltran at the plate, making it the first postseason game in baseball history to end on a pickoff.
In a rematch of the staff who faced off in Game 1, Jon Lester again outdueled Adam Wainwright to give the Red Sox a 32 series lead after Game 5. Boston scored first for the first time since Game 1 when Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz hit back-to-back doubles with one out in the first. Matt Holliday tied the score with a home run to center in the fourth inning, but it would be the only run Lester would allow over strong 7 2/3 innings of work. Wainwright matched Lester until the seventh inning, when a ground-rule RBI double by David Ross and RBI single by Jacoby Ellsbury scored Xander Bogaerts and Stephen Drew to give Boston a 31 lead.
Koji Uehara relieved Lester with two outs in the eighth and retired all four Cardinals he faced to earn his second save of the series. Uehara tied John Wetteland, Robb Nen, Troy Percival, and Brad Lidge for most saves in one postseason year, with seven. In addition, Lester joined Babe Ruth as the only Red Sox lefthanders to win three World Series games.
Boston won Game 6 in a rout by scoring six runs on the Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha, who had previously been unbeaten in the playoffs. World Series Most Valuable Player David Ortiz was walked by the Cardinals four times, and scored twice. Boston's Shane Victorino opened the scoring with a three-run double in the third inning and had four runs batted in. Red Sox pitcher John Lackey pitched six scoreless innings. The Cardinals only seriously threatened in the seventh inning when they scored on Carlos Beltran's single and had the bases loaded with two outs, but Boston reliever Junichi Tazawa got the final out. Koji Uehara came in again to pitch a perfect ninth, striking out Matt Carpenter to clinch the win for the Red Sox.
And with this win, the Boston Red Sox won the championship at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918.