Best of the best: Top 10 plays of 2013 World Series

October 31, 2013 - 12:22 pm
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After sweeping both the 2004 and 2007 World Series, the Red Sox needed a bit more time to dispatch the Cardinals on the way to their third championship in 10 years, eventually defeating St. Louis in six games. The 2013 World Series was an instant classic, filled with great plays, clutch moments and unpredictable finishes. Here's a look back at the top 10 plays of the 109th Fall Classic. 10. Game 5: David Ross' double gives the Red Sox a late lead -- After Jarrod Saltalamacchia's poor performance in Games 2 and 3 (0-for-6, four strikeouts and a poor throw to third in Game 3 that led to a St. Louis victory), Sox manager John Farrell opted to go with the veteran Ross behind the plate for the remainder of the Series. While Ross continued to call a great game throughout the series, it was Ross' bat that arguably had the biggest impact against the Cardinals. Ross stepped up to the plate during Monday night's pivotal Game 5 with the score knotted up at 1-1 in the seventh inning. With Xander Bogaerts on second and Stephen Drew at first, Ross yanked a hanging curveball from tiring Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright into left field, where it bounced up into the stands for a ground-rule double. Bogaerts scored from second on the play, giving the Sox a lead they would never relinquish. 9. Game 4: Felix Doubront holds the Cardinals at bay in a relief appearance -- Before the Sox postseason even started, Doubront indicated he didn't feel like working out of the bullpen would be the best thing for him.  He certainly seemed comfortable with his role in the 'pen in Game 4, as he held the Cardinals lineup for 2 2/3 innings, allowing only one hit and one run while striking out three. Doubront's solid appearance helped bridge the gap between starter Clay Buchholz's four innings of work and the back end of the bullpen, led by Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara. 8. Game 4: David Ortiz rallies his teammates with a dugout speech -- Plain and simple, David Ortiz dominated this World Series. The 37-year-old slugger posted an incredible .688/.760/1.188 line during the six-game series on the way to earning the World Series MVP award. However, Ortiz's impact goes far beyond what he's done at the plate. With Game 4 tied at 1-1 through five innings, Ortiz gathered his teammates in the dugout and gave them a rousing speech. "He got everyone's attention pretty quick," Jonny Gomes explained after the game. "It was like 24 kindergarten kids looking up into the face of our teacher. We'll keep to ourselves what he said, but the message was pretty powerful. Ortiz's speech seemed to work, as the Sox would score three runs in the top of the sixth inning to grab a 4-1 lead. 7. Game 1: An overturned call at second gives the Sox a jump start -- Game 1 of the World Series got off to a shaky start, as second base umpire Dana DeMuth ruled in the first inning that Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma lost a potential double-play ball on the exchange, giving the Sox an out at second. However, after John Farrell went out and protested, the umpires convened and overturned the ruling, stating that the runner, Dustin Pedroia, was safe at second. The call ended working out great for the Sox as the next batter, Mike Napoli, slugged a double into left-center field, driving in all three runners and giving Boston a great start to the series. 6. Game 2: Craig Breslow throws it away -- For as excellent as he was during the ALDS and ALCS, Breslow likely will want to put the World Series behind him as quick as possible. Entering Game 2 in the top of the seventh with one out, two Cardinals on base and a 2-1 lead, Breslow was put in a high-pressure situation, and the southpaw just didn't have it. After a double steal put runners on second and third, Breslow walked Daniel Descalso to load the bases with one out. The next Cardinals batter, Matt Carpenter, lofted a fly ball to left fielder Jonny Gomes, who tried in vain to get the out at home on a throw but was too late, as the Cards tied the game. To make matters worse, Breslow, seeing that Jon Jay was advancing to third on the play, grabbed the loose ball and fired it from home to third base to try to nab the runner. However, the ball sailed into the camera pit, allowing Jay to score and give the Cardinals a shocking 3-2 lead. St. Louis would add another run and take Game 2 at Fenway by a score of 4-2. 5. Game 6: Shane Victorino hits a three-run double off Michael Wacha -- For as stressful and thrilling as Games 2-5 were, Game 6 was for the most part an easy win for the Sox. It didn't look like it was going to shape up that way going into the contest, as Boston was set to face the Cardinals rookie phenom Wacha, who had a postseason ERA of 1.00 in four starts prior to his start on Wednesday. However, Victorino, playing for the first time since missing Games 4 and 5 with a back injury, made sure that Wacha would not pitch deep into the contest, as he smoked a pitch off of the Green Monster in the bottom of the third with the bases loaded. All three runners would score on the play, giving the Sox a comfy 3-0 lead. Victorino would finish the series-clinching game with four RBIs. 4. Game 4: Koji Uehara picks off Kolten Wong for the final out -- The Sox rebounded from a disappointing Game 3 with a stellar performance the following night, as they defeated St. Louis 4-2 to even up the series. The final inning was not without drama, as Uehara had two outs in the ninth inning with a runner on first. Up to the plate walked Carlos Beltran, one of the greatest hitters in postseason history (.333 BA, 16 home runs, 40 RBIs), with a chance to tie the game with one swing of the bat. However, Beltran would not even get that chance, as Uehara picked off Wong, a pinch-runner, at first to win the game in stunning fashion. 3. Game 3: A strange obstruction call gives the Cardinals the win -- Game 3 will always be remembered for having one of the craziest and most controversial endings in MLB postseason history. With the game tied, 4-4, in the bottom of the ninth and the Cardinals threatening with a runner on first, Farrell opted to bring in Uehara for a chance to extend the game. Cardinals batter Allen Craig welcomed the Sox closer into the game with a double, putting runners at second and third with one out. What happened next was classic, wild playoff baseball. Jay smashed a pitch from Uehara out toward second base, where Pedroia, playing in, made a diving stop and fired the ball to the plate. Saltalamacchia tagged out the runner, Yadier Molina, for the second out. Saltalamacchia then threw the ball to third to try to catch the advancing Craig, but the throw sailed wide on Will Middlebrooks, who ended up flat on the ground as he tried in vain to corral the ball. As Craig started toward the plate, he tripped over Middlebrooks. Craig got up and raced home, but the ball beat him there. However, Craig was ruled safe due to obstruction. The Red Sox briefly argued, but the call stood, giving the Cardinals a 2-1 series lead. 2. Game 4: Jonny Gomes' three-run blast powers the Sox to victory -- Before Game 4, Gomes was having a pretty rough month. The clubhouse leader only posted a .150/.200/.212 line in the playoffs and was not even supposed to be in the lineup for Sunday's game, but he was a last-second addition due to Victorino's back injury. As he's seemingly done all year, Gomes stepped up when it mattered the most, as he crushed a hanging sinker from Seth Maness into the Boston bullpen for a three-run home run, breaking a tie and giving the Sox a 4-1 lead. 1. Game 6: Koji Uehara strikes out Matt Carpenter to seal the title -- Can there be a better play? With a max-capacity crowd at Fenway standing as one, Uehara struck out Matt to clinch a 6-1 victory and the World Series for the Red Sox. As over 37,000 fans roared with excitement, Uehara jumped into the arms of Ross before being swarmed on the field by the rest of his teammates. Wednesday's win marked the first time that the Red Sox clinched a championship at home since 1918.

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