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World Series 2018: Top Stars, Stats and Highlights from Red Sox vs. Dodgers

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistOctober 29, 2018

Boston Red Sox's Steve Pearce celebrates his second home run during the eighth inning in Game 5 of the World Series baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The Boston Red Sox are on their way back home with their fourth World Series title since 2004. 

Boston captured its ninth championship in franchise history with a dominant performance in Game 5 at Dodger Stadium that was led by a few unexpected heroes. 

Steve Pearce, who participated in only the second postseason of his 12-year career, took home the Most Valuable Player award for the clutch hits he delivered throughout the series, including a pair of home runs in Game 5. 

David Price emerged as the other unlikely hero for the Red Sox, as he won Games 2 and 5 to erase the narrative about his postseason struggles. 

While Price and Pearce were the standout stars, other players made plenty of key contributions throughout the World Series to help Boston capture the title in dominant fashion.

       

Top Stars

Steve Pearce

Toronto's trade of Pearce to the Red Sox in June (for a minor league infielder) will go down as the best piece of business from the summer. 

Pearce displayed glimpses of his power throughout his 50 regular-season appearances for the Red Sox, as he hit seven home runs and drove in 26 runs. 

At most, the first baseman was expected to provide cover for Mitch Moreland and come up with a clutch hit or two during the postseason. 

Pearce blew everyone away with a home run and four RBI in Game 4 and two more dingers in the series-clinching Game 5 victory. 

With his pair of round-trippers in Game 5, Pearce became the second Boston player to ever hit three home runs in the World Series, per The Athletic's Katie Sharp: 

Katie Sharp @ktsharp

Red Sox players to hit 3 HR in a single World Series: Steve Pearce (2018) Carl Yastrzemski (1967)

       

David Price 

Throughout his postseason career, Price showed flashes of brilliance, but he was far from Boston's go-to guy in the starting rotation entering the World Series. 

In two World Series starts, Price gave up six hits and three earned runs over 13 innings, and he made a brief appearance in the 18-inning marathon in Game 3. 

Before the World Series, Price had one victory in 12 playoff starts, with the win coming against Houston in Game 6 of the ALCS. 

If Pearce hadn't hit two home runs in Game 5, Price would've been named MVP for his pair of marvelous performances against a Dodgers lineup that had no answers for him.

         

Top Stats

Boston's ninth World Series victory was the first for manager Alex Cora, who became the first rookie manager since the Arizona Diamondbacks' Bob Brenly in 2001 to win the World Series, per MLB Stat of the Day: 

MLB Stat of the Day @MLBStatoftheDay

In his first year as manager, @ac13alex is a #WorldSeries champion. The last rookie manager to accomplish the feat was Bob Brenly with the 2001 @Dbacks. https://t.co/ZivaOOp1LQ

Pearce joined an illustrious list of 10 players, including Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Johnny Bench, as players to hit two or more home runs in a series-clinching World Series game, per Sharp: 

Katie Sharp @ktsharp

2+ HR in Potential Clinching World Series Game: Steve Pearce 2018 Kirk Gibson 1984 Eddie Murray 1983 Reggie Jackson 1977 Johnny Bench 1976 Yogi Berra 1956 Duke Snider 1952 Tony Lazzeri 1932 Babe Ruth 1928 Harry Hooper 1915

Price won the clinching games of back-to-back series against Cy Young Award winners, which was the first time that's ever occurred, per ESPN's Buster Olney: 

Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN

ELIAS: If the Red Sox win, David Price will have clinched two consecutive series against Cy Young winners – Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw – in the same postseason. That's never been done before.

Chris Sale, who came on to close Game 5 in the ninth for Boston, became the ninth pitcher and first since 1945 to record the first and last outs of the World Series, per Baseball Reference: 

Baseball Reference @baseball_ref

Pitchers who got the first and last out of the #worldseries: Babe Adams, 1909 Ernie Shore, 1916 Art Nehf, 1922 Waite Hoyt, 1928 Lefty Gomez, 1937 Paul Derringer, 1940 Spud Chandler, 1943 Hal Newhouser, 1945 And Chris Sale, 2018

Boston finished the season with 119 wins, which is the third-most in MLB history behind the 1998 New York Yankees and 2001 Seattle Mariners, per the league's official Twitter account: 

MLB @MLB

119 wins. That's a lot of #DirtyWater. https://t.co/QGFeZPlUir

          

Highlights

Mookie Betts produced an insurance run in the sixth inning for the Red Sox, as he took Clayton Kershaw deep: 

FOX Sports @FOXSports

MOOOOOOKIE! The MVP candidate comes through for the @RedSox with a solo shot in Game 5! https://t.co/IbrXC3bYTA

J.D. Martinez extended the Boston lead to three runs in the seventh inning, when he sent a solo blast to center off Kershaw: 

FOX Sports @FOXSports

Red Sox are doing damage! J.D. Martinez homers to center to give Boston a 3-run lead in the 7th! https://t.co/zvtfrsej2N

Sale recorded the final out of the 2018 World Series by striking out Manny Machado, who had a disappointing series for the Dodgers: 

FOX Sports @FOXSports

THE BOSTON RED SOX ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS!!! Chris Sale strikes out Manny Machado to close out the World Series! https://t.co/u62k4SVQPv

FOX Sports @FOXSports

Yup, the @RedSox went there. 👀 the song selection https://t.co/T0l7aC4c4e

During the postgame celebration in the locker room, the Red Sox trolled the rival New York Yankees by singing "New York, New York": 

       

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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