ST. LOUIS — Bless her soul, Dorothy Overlund lived and breathed Red Sox. She never missed a game on television, and when she died peacefully over the All-Star break in Redmond, Wash., at age 92, her loved ones made sure she appeared in her obituary photograph in a replica Sox jersey.
Grandma Overlund lived and died in Ellsbury County, the Pacific Northwest, and she would have been delighted by Game 5 of the World Series Monday night when Jacoby and his buddies once again defeated one of the best pitchers on the planet this October.
This time it was St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright, who had surrendered only two earned runs over 16 innings in two postseason starts this month at Busch Stadium.
Wainwright was nasty, striking out 10 over seven innings. But the Sox, as has become their custom, were nastier when they needed to be.
With Wainwright and Sox ace Jon Lester deadlocked, 1-1, in the seventh, David Ross smacked a ground-rule double to left, scoring Xander Bogaerts with the decisive run in Boston’s 3-1 victory.
Then, the late Mrs. Overlund’s boy, Ellsbury, blooped a single to center that delivered Stephen Drew with an insurance run that all but stamped out any hope the Cardinals had.
The Sox can win their third World Series of the young century Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
They may not be hitting much — they are batting a collective .205 in the Fall Classic — but they are hitting when it counts.
“We really don’t care how we get it done; we just want to get it done,’’ Daniel Nava.
“If it’s ugly, if it’s beautiful, we don’t really care. We just want to get it done.’’
Consider the roll call of elite pitchers the Sox have overcome this month on their march to the threshold of baseball nirvana: Tampa Bay’s David Price and Matt Moore; Detroit’s Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander; and St. Louis’s Wainwright.
Chalk it up to the team’s character, manager John Farrell suggested.
“The one thing we’ve seen repeatedly throughout the course of the year is the awareness inside the game,’’ Farrell said. “The will to succeed, the desire to compete have been present with this team from day one.’’
One knock on the Sox at times during the season was that they might be easy pickings for premier lefthanders.
“They find a way,’’ Farrell said of his lineup. “The one thing that we tried to establish in spring training, the most important thing, is the game tonight and how we put together a game plan to win. I think we’re seeing that against top-flight pitching throughout the season.’’
Dustin Pedroia, who epitomizes the team’s tenacity in chipping away at baseball’s best, feigned a measure of cluelessness when asked the team’s secret to success against the Wainwrights of the world.
“I don’t know, man,’’ he said. “We like winning. Find a way to win, man, that’s what we do.’’
The guys at the bottom of the Sox lineup have struggled mightily in the World Series. Stephen Drew and David Ross entered the game batting .083 and .125, respectively. But they each did what the Sox have done all season, contributed in the clutch.
After Bogaerts singled to start the seventh-inning rally, Drew worked Wainwright for a six-pitch walk, only his second walk in 52 postseason plate appearances. Ross then laced the decisive ground-rule double down the left-field line.
“It’s nothing new for this team; we’ve been doing it all year,’’ Drew said. “One or two runs and big hits here or there changes the course of the game. It seems like that’s the way it happens for us.’’
Ross credited Drew with overcoming his prolonged slump to make a difference. As for Ross, he took pleasure in pulling a Wainwright curveball down the left-field line.
“This is pretty cool, right?’’ he said in the otherwise warm afterglow.