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Home » 2013 PostseasonOctober 2013 » Holding On

Holding On

David Ortiz rallied his teammates and delivered a speech akin to General George S. Patton’s speech to the Third Army. The events that followed in the game were like Patton Oswalt’s “Parks and Recreation” filibuster.

Oswalt mashed up Star Wars, the Avengers, and a myriad of other fandoms in his diatribe. John Farrell cobbled together a World Series victory with a last-minute lineup and a melange of arms.

Ortiz laid the groundwork in the fifth inning with a double scorched to the right-center gap. “Let’s go! ¡Vámonos!” he exhorted from the keystone sack. Jonny Gomes, who filled in for late scratch Shane Victorino, worked a walk after falling behind Lance Lynn in the count and Xander Bogaerts’s five-pitch at bat also granted him a free pass. With the bases loaded, Stephen Drew got enough loft on the ball and sacrificed in Ortiz to tie the game.

Clay Buchholz was throwing like Tom Brady. Despite his fastball hovering around 88 MPH, the starter gutted out 4 innings and only surrendered one unearned run. No one would be surprised if some point in the future Buchholz’s and Brady’s injuries are revealed to be much worse than was assumed. For the latter athlete, a greater share of the shock would be that the Patriots organization revealed anything about the quarterback.

At first the Boston batters didn’t seem to take Ortiz’s words to heart. Jacob Ellsbury and Daniel Nava didn’t get the ball out of the infield. It took Dustin Pedroia’s single to center to spark the rally. Mike Matheny decided not to use Randy Choate against Ortiz and Lynn ended up intentionally walking Ortiz.

Matheny then pulled Lynn in favor of Seth Maness, whose talent was inducing double plays to get out of jams. Although a double play wasn’t needed, Matheny hoped the reliever would dissipate the visitors’ threatening rally with an innocuous ground out.

Gomes was 0-for-9 up to that point. As endearing as his spirit, helmet, and goggles are, it seemed that his Farrell kept on running the platoon player out on the field more for his fashion choices and spunk than for his bat. But every so often a sinkerballer’s pitch doesn’t sink. That happened on the 2-2 pitch, which Gomes sent into the Red Sox bullpen.

Felix Doubront took over on the mound from Buchholz in the bottom of the fifth because Mike Carp hit for the pitcher in the top of the frame. The southpaw dazzled batters for 2⅔ innings, striking out three and walking none. Pinch hitter Shane Robinson chased him from the game in the seventh with a double to Gomes. It was a line drive that Nava might have been able to catch, highlighting that what Gomes may give you with his bat you might lose on his glove.

Farrell called on Craig Breslow for the lefty Matt Carpenter. The leadoff hitter singled to Nava, who made an excellent throw home. David Ross blocked the plate but Robinson stepped over Ross’s foot to bring his team within two runs of the Red Sox. Breslow gave nothing to Beltran to hit, setting up the Junichi Tazawa-Matt Holliday rematch.

This time Tazawa prevailed, inducing a ground out to Pedroia.

In Oswalt’s universe Tony Stark called on Moon Knight, Daredevil, Hercules, and the pantheon of gods from “The Clash of the Titans.” Farrell summoned what most Red Sox fans thought was a fictional creation up until this season: an effective John Lackey. The starter bridged the gap between Tazawa and Koji Uehara ably, only allowing a runner due to Bogaerts’s throwing error. Yadier Molina scorched what would have been a double had Bogaerts failed to make the stop before it capered down the left field line. In his haste and inexperience, however, Bogaerts threw wildly to first and Molina ended up at second anyway. Showing the need for steady defense, Lackey induced a pop out and a ground out to Drew.

Uehara also didn’t have a clean inning. Another pinch hitter, Allen Craig, found the right field fence over Nava’s head. For hitters without the surname Molina it would have been a double but Craig’s ankle hindered him from reaching second. Kolten Wong pinch ran for Craig.

With the score 4-2, Wong’s run didn’t matter. With two outs, there was no reason for Mike Napoli to hold on the runner (he did say he was guarding the line). With Carlos Beltran at the plate, the runner’s top priority is to not make an out.

But this gallimaufry of circumstances ended the game improbably and historically: a pickoff.

World Series Game 4: October 27, 2013
WinBoston Red Sox
4 W: Felix Doubront (1-0)
H: Junichi Tazawa (1), John Lackey (1)
S: Koji Uehara (1)
2B: David Ortiz (1)
HR: Jonny Gomes (1)
St. Louis Cardinals
2 L: Lance Lynn (0-1)
2B: Yadier Molina (1), Shane Robinson (1)

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