The Final Out: Red Sox Koji Uehara Closes the Door on the Cardinals


The Final Out is an article series about the drama surrounding the final outs in Red Sox history. 

Photo courtesy of Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports.

The crowd was deafening inside Fenway Park heading into the top of ninth for Game 6 of the 2013 World Series.  The Red Sox hadn’t won a World Series championship in front of the Fenway Faithful for 95 years.  The crowd was ready; you could feel the electricity flowing through the park like blood flowing through your veins. 

Chants of “Koji, Koji” rained down from the bleachers as the Red Sox closer was trying to close out the series.  The tumultuous 2013 season was about to have the happiest of endings for Red Sox fans and the City of Boston. 

The city was months removed from the heinous terrorist attacks at the Boston Marathon.  The Red Sox were about to be the beacon of light to take the city and the Boston sports world away from that terrible day.  David Ortiz said it best following the attacks, “this is our fucking city”, and Koji Uehara was one out away from making that a reality

Sports provides the opportunity to be a distraction when there is turmoil in the world.  At that time, Ortiz would have no idea how important his words would be for a city in the midst of healing.  Boston was about to be America's "f'n" city for at least one night. 

Everyone was on their feet, all 38, 447 fans in attendance.  Boston had a 3-2 series lead and a 6-1 lead coming into the ninth. 

Uehara would make quick work of lead off hitter Jon Jay forcing him to fly out to Johnny Gomes in left center.  Daniel Descalso followed, and Uehara peppered the zone with strikes and ultimately had him fly out to Gomes in left center too.

What would happen next still makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.  Cardinals Matt Carpenter stepped to the plate.  The veteran infielder was trying to keep the Cardinals season alive.  At that moment, everyone in that ballpark knew the end result.  It was a matter of Uehara taking care of business like he had the entire postseason.  In 12 games during that magical October, he was 1-1 with an impressive 0.71 ERA and seven saves.  Uehara was the epitome of lights out.  

The crowd rose to their feet, chants of “Koji” reigning loud.  Uehara worked Carpenter to a 2-2 count, elongating the drama some more. 

Uehara tipped his cap, looked to the sky and fired a pitch.  It was fouled off by Carpenter and Boston would have to wait.  The Fenway crowd was growing increasingly more anxious for every pitch.  Fans at home were not sure what to do with themselves.  Pacing back and forth needing to release the sounds of euphoria. There were so many sad tears that season.  Red Sox Nation and the country was ready for some happy tears this time. 

The camera panned over to Ortiz.  He was wearing a black helmet and had his goggles ready for the post game party.  “DH is ready to celebrate and so are these fans,” said Fox color commentator Joe Buck. 

Uehara wound upped and pitched.

For a split second, while waiting for that pitch, Boston saw an entire year of heartache and pain flash before their eyes. 

And then….

Uehara struck out Carpenter.  The fans at Fenway Park saw something they've never seen before, a World Series win at Fenway Park.  Well, those fans in attendance anyway. 

“It hasn’t happened at Fenway Park for 95 years, the Red Sox are World Champions,” proclaimed Buck.


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Boston Sports Syndicate: The Final Out: Red Sox Koji Uehara Closes the Door on the Cardinals
The Final Out: Red Sox Koji Uehara Closes the Door on the Cardinals
Boston Sports Syndicate
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