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The Walkoff: Red Sox Earn 3-1 Win With Jon Lester’s Dominance, Timely Hitting

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
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Jon Lester  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Jon Lester (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Red Sox are one victory away from winning the World Series.

They’re in that scenario thanks to another hard-fought win over the Cardinals in Game 5 of the World Series. It was very much anyone’s ballgame until the seventh inning, when David Ross delivered an RBI double, and Jacoby Ellsbury followed it up two batters later with an RBI single, opening up a 3-1 lead that would hold for the final score.

Three different Red Sox drove in a run in what was a complete team effort from start to finish, and Jon Lester was a man possessed on the mound for Boston. The Sox’ starter allowed just one run over 7 2/3 innings, outdueling Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright for the second time in as many chances this series.

The Key Moment
For much of the night, a classic pitchers’ duel played out at Busch Stadium. It was appropriate, then, that the most crucial moment of the game looked to be one that would force Jon Lester to the plate in an RBI situation of a tied game in the seventh inning.

Lester had thrown just 69 pitches and was positioned to pitch deep into the game, but if his spot was due up with runners on and two outs, manager John Farrell would have been in quite a pickle.

But it never came to that, thanks to an RBI double to left field that came off the bat of David Ross. It was Ross’ second hit of the night, and it broke a 1-1 tie which at that point looked like it might never come undone.

It did, making Lester’s tapper back to the mound easier for the Red Sox to digest in the at-bat that followed.

Jacoby Ellsbury then hit an RBI single into center field to double that lead to 3-1, and that would be all they’d need.

The Man
The major story line for the past few offseasons in Boston always seems to revolve around one question: Is Jon Lester a true ace?

Yes. Yes he is.

Lester was masterful in Game 5, only missing with one pitch, which Matt Holliday sent over the center-field fence in the fourth inning. But he was thoroughly dominant for the rest of the night, further establishing his own World Series legend.

According to the Red Sox, Lester became the fifth pitcher ever to allow one or fewer runs in his first three career World Series starts, the first since the mid-1940s, and he became the first pitcher to allow one run or fewer in multiple starts in the same World Series since Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens did it in 2001.

Sounds like the work of an ace.

The Goat
There is simply no goat in this one. It would be hard to fault any one Cardinal for letting this one get away, and Adam Wainwright very nearly matched Lester pitch for pitch.

It was just a team effort for Boston. David Ortiz went 3-for-4, Xander Bogaerts went 2-for-4, Stephen Drew worked a key walk, Dustin Pedroia’s first-inning double immediately led to an early run, Koji Uehara pitched a perfect four-out save, and Lester even came through with an outstanding defensive play to retire Pete Kozma at first base on a bunt attempt.

Just about everything went right for the Red Sox, who very much earned this Game 5 victory.

The Outlook
Baseball resumes Wednesday night at what will be a very chilly Fenway Park. The Red Sox will have a chance to win it all in front of their home fans, something that hasn’t happened since 1918.

If they’re to do it in Game 6, they’ll need to solve Michael Wacha, who beat them in Game 2. John Lackey, who pitched better than his line suggests in Game 2, will have the ball in his hand for the Red Sox.

Read more from Michael by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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