Editor?s note: Starting Monday, March 23, NESN will re-air memorable games from the Boston Red Sox?s World Series runs. Up next is Game 5 of the 2013 World Series vs. the St. Louis Cardinals. Get the full schedule by clicking here.
You can have all the offensive explosions and crazy endings you want. But, at the end of the day, pitching wins championships.
And, boy, did the Boston Red Sox ever get great pitching in Game 5 of the 2013 World Series.
Jon Lester and Koji Uehara held the St. Louis Cardinals to one run as the Red Sox earned a 3-1 victory to take a 3-2 series lead in the 2013 Fall Classic. That’s not to say that St. Louis had poor pitching — Adam Wainwright was quite good — but Boston was just better.
The game also featured clutch hits from David Ross, Jacoby Ellsbury and (of course) David Ortiz. Still riding the momentum from Ortiz’s dugout speech the night before, the Red Sox put forth an all-around team effort at Busch Stadium, propelling them to a potential series-clinching Game 6 at Fenway Park.
NESN will re-air Game 5 of the 2013 World Series on Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET. Before that, though, here are four things you may have forgotten about:
1. Lester was awesome
Per usual, Lester was excellent on the big stage. The ace left-hander gave up one run on four hits while striking out seven and walking none over 7 2/3 innings. Lester, who was dominant in picking up a victory in Game 1, earned another win to move to 4-1 on the postseason with a sparkling 1.56 ERA. A home run by Cardinals outfielder Matt Holiday in the fourth inning accounted for the only run scored against Lester in the World Series. In particular, Lester did an excellent job with two outs. The Cardinals went 0-for-7 with two outs against Lester, including two strikeouts. Boston’s ace also induced one inning-ending double play.
Lester’s final postseason start in a Red Sox uniform was a beauty, as well as a throwback, as starting pitchers in recent years rarely pitch so deeply into playoff games.
2. Uehara was, too
Boston’s dynamite closer retired all four batters he faced — including a huge strikeout with a runner on in the eighth inning — to earn his seventh save of the playoffs to go along with a 0.71 ERA. Uehara was remarkable that season, but efficiency perhaps was his most impressive quality. That trended continued in Game 5, as Uehara needed only 15 pitches (11 strikes) over 1 1/3 innings. Of course, his signature postseason moment wouldn’t occur until two nights later.
3. Two-run seventh made the difference
The Red Sox broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the seventh inning.
Ross managed only six hits and two RBIs in the 2013 playoffs, but none were bigger than his RBI ground-rule double with one out in the seventh inning. Two batters later, Ellsbury hit a bloop single to center field that scored Stephen Drew, though Ross was thrown out at the plate in a play that gets closer every time we watch it. The hit was the only one of the game for Ellsbury, who finished his Red Sox career with a .344 average in the 2013 playoffs to go along with six RBIs and six stolen bases.
4. David Ortiz, as always
Ortiz continued his torrid World Series by going 3-for-4 with an RBI double, raising his postseason batting average to .360 (with an absurd 1.196 OPS) in the process. Of course, the game being in a National League park meant Ortiz had to play first base, and he handled himself more than adequately. In fact, Ortiz’s defense often was underrated throughout his career — something he likely would be the first to tell you.