Four Real? Beards pluck Birds in WS Game Five 10-28-13

Know why the big guy is smiling? After winning Game Five of the World
Series over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, the Sox are only one win
away from claiming their third World Series title in a decade (AP photo)

Jan-Christian Sorensen Contributing Writer

Dropkick it. We’re shipping up to Boston.

After the Red Sox delivered a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Five of the World Series at Busch Stadium on Monday night to take a 3-2 series lead, the Sox now return to Fenway Park for Game Six on Wednesday with a chance to win a World Series title at home for the first time since 1918.

If the Sox manage to win one of the next two games, it will also mark the third time in 10 years that Boston has claimed the Fall Classic crown.

Game One winner Jon Lester (4-1, 1.56 postseason ERA in 2013) once again set the pace for the Sox, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out seven and walking none in a 91-pitch tour de force to win his second World Series game, drop his ERA to 0.59 and become only the second Red Sox lefthander since Babe Ruth to win three career World Series games.

Lester’s last Fall Classic victory came in the Game Four clincher in Colorado in 2007. In three career starts in the World Series, Lester has only allowed one earned run in 21 innings of work.

Like clockwork, Koji Uehara came on to face the final four batters and retired them all, two by way of the K, to snag his second save of the series and seventh overall in the 2013 postseason. It was also his fourth save of at least four outs in the playoffs.

Ortiz added to his October luster yet again, going 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI to boost his Fall Classic batting average to .733, his slugging percentage to 1.267 and his OPS to 2.017. Ortiz is now 11 for 15 with two doubles, two homers, six RBI, four walks and zero strikeouts in the series so far.

Call him consistent: Big Papi is batting .465 with three homers, six doubles, 10 walks, 14 RBI and only four strikeouts in 13 career World Series games while posting a slugging percentage of .814 over that stretch.

Backup backstop David Ross gave another big boost to Boston in the game, going 2 for 4 with a key RBI to break a 1-1 tie with a double in the seventh, while Jacoby Ellsbury drove in Boston’s third run as the Sox out-paced the Cards 9-4 in the hits column.

Ross had a bit of statistical history on his side — he came into the game batting .231 with a homer and three RBI off Wainwright lifetime.

For the first time in the series, both teams played error-free ball in a game that didn’t feature a pickoff, obstruction call or umpires congregating to reverse a call on the base paths — something that occurred in three of the first four matchups.

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright took the loss despite striking out ten as he surrendered all three runs on eight hits while walking one in a seven-inning start to fall to 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA.

Stat of the day, courtesy of @si_mlb: Of 19 teams engaged in the 2/3/2-format best-of-seven league championship and world series that lost a tiebreaking game-five at home, only ONE — Atlanta, in the 1991 NLCS — went on to win the series.

Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:

1) The Brunt For Red October: Coming into the game hitting at a gaudy .727 clip in the series, David Ortiz added to his tally with a double to right, scoring Dustin Pedroia from second to stake the Sox to a 1-0 lead right out of the gate.

2) Son Of A Pitch: Matt Holliday tied up the game up with one out in the fourth when he crushed a Lester pitch to center for his second round-tripper of the series.

3) Ross-ton!: With one out in the seventh, Xander Bogaerts singled and Stephen Drew walked before David Ross laced a 1-2 curveball off Adam Wainwright for a ground-rule double to left that scored Bogaerts, giving Boston a 2-1 lead and pushing Drew to third.

4) In, Drewbitably: Still in the seventh, Jacoby Ellsbury singled to center off Wainwright to score Drew for Boston’s third run.

Both teams will travel back to Boston tomorrow and get set for Game Six Wednesday, when John Lackey (0-1, 3.68 ERA) gets the ball against rookie phenom Michael Wacha (1-0, 3.00 ERA) as the Sox look to close out their worst-to-first turnaround season by claiming an eighth World Series title in 12 trips to the Fall Classic since winning the inaugural World Series in 1903.

Keep the Faith. Drink the Drity Water. Connect with me on Twitter: @jan_doh