BOSTON - OCTOBER 3: David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox waves to fans after he was replaced by a pinch runner against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park October 3 2010 in Boston Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Offensively, this game was all about three players. First, there was J.D. Drew. He only had one hit on the day, but it was a big one, putting the Sox on the board with a 2-run swat in the first inning. David Ortiz, after a pair of singles to start the day, finally dropped down that bunt down the third base line he's been trying for for a while now. Francona pulled Big Papi after collecting three hits in three at bats, earning a standing ovation and a curtain call from the crowd after a resurgent year.
And then there was Jed Lowrie. After walking in the first inning (providing the second run on Drew's homer), Lowrie took a 3-2 curveball and knocked it out of the park for his eighth home run of the year. Two innings later, he cleaned out a Joba Chamberlain Slider, wrapping it around Pesky's Pole for his ninth. That's two home runs from the left side of the plate, where he'd been seemingly vulnerable before, bringing Jed's OPS on the season up to a staggering .907.
On the mound, John Lackey did his best to give his season a positive finish. And he did a pretty good job of it. Striking out ten batters, Lackey's only real blemish was a second inning home run to Nick Swisher. And while he did ultimately allow a couple more runs (one after an error extended the third inning, another after Rich Hill allowed his two-out walk to come home in the eighth), Lackey was able to leave as an appreciative crowd cheered his effort.
With the end of the season, Jason Varitek was playing in perhaps his last game with the Red Sox. It was nearly a storybook ending too, as Varitek launched the last pitch he saw out towards the pen before it died a few feet short. Nonetheless, Varitek got a hero's send-off, being pulled from behind the plate before the first pitch of the ninth inning to a standing ovation as the fans chanted his name.
There were some more ninth inning troubles for Jonathan Papelbon, but it's not worth thinking about at this point. The Red Sox won their last series against the Yankees, kept them from winning the division, and went down with some pride. Sometimes, that's about all you can ask for.