With fans roaring on every pitch and cameras flashing, Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter for the final out. The Japanese pitcher jumped into the arms of catcher David Ross while Red Sox players rushed from the dugout and bullpen as the Boston theme “Dirty Water” played on the public-address system.
There wasn’t the “Cowboy Up!” comeback charm of “The Idiots” from 2004, who swept St. Louis to end an 86-year title drought. There wasn’t that cool efficiency of the 2007 team that swept Colorado.
This time, they were Boston Strong - playing for a city shaken by tragedy.
“I don’t think we put Boston on our back. I think we jumped on their back,” Jonny Gomes said. “They wouldn’t let us quit.”
After a late-season collapse in 2011, the embarrassing revelations of a fried chicken-and-beer clubhouse culture that contributed to the ouster of manager Terry Francona, and the daily tumult of Bobby Valentine’s one-year flop, these Red Sox grew on fans.
Just like the long whiskers on the players’ faces, starting with Gomes’ scruffy spring training beard.
“As soon as we went to Fort Myers, the movie’s already been written,” Gomes said. “All we had to do was press play, and this is what happened.”
The only player remaining from the 2004 champs, Ortiz had himself a Ruthian World Series. He batted .688 (11 for 16) with two homers, six RBIs and eight walks - including four in the finale - for a .760 on-base percentage in 25 plate appearances, the second-highest in Series history.
“We have a lot of players with heart. We probably don’t have the talent that we had in `07 and `04, but we have guys that are capable (of staying) focused and do the little things,” Ortiz said.
Even slumping Stephen Drew delivered a big hit in Game 6, sending Wacha’s first pitch of the fourth into the right-center bullpen for a 4-0 lead. By the time the inning was over, RBI singles by Mike Napoli and Victorino had made it 6-0, and the Red Sox were on their way.