With one sweet swing of the bat, Stephen Drew’s postseason offensive woes were all but forgotten.
The Red Sox had already claimed a three-run lead in Game 6 of the World Series, but another run wouldn’t hurt.
Michael Wacha reared back and fired a 91-mile-per-hour heater to start the fourth inning, and Drew sent it soaring into the Red Sox bullpen.
His hit sparked the Red Sox’ second three-run inning of the game, sending the sold-out Fenway crowd of 38,447 into a frenzy that never fizzled out as Boston cruised to a 6-1 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series.
The championship, Boston's first since 2007, capped an improbable turnaround, one that saw the Red Sox finish first after finishing in the cellar of the AL East in 2012.
“It started from the top,” Drew said. “In spring training, everybody said — I know it sounds corny and whatnot, but there was something special there. It’s been a miracle year, a magical year.”
Drew didn’t care that he was hitting 1 for 15 in the World Series entering Game 6 — his only hit a popup that fell harmlessly between Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina in Game 1.
Drew didn’t care that he was hitting 4 for 50, a .080 average, in the entire postseason.
What mattered to Drew was that he hadn’t made an error in the World Series, and just one the entire postseason.
He flashed the leather again Wednesday night, when he started a 6-3 double play to close out the third inning. In the top of the fifth, he made a diving catch up the middle to rob Daniel Descalso of a hit.
“You know what? The offensive struggle, whatever,” Drew said. “The defense, the pitching, we have 25 guys that understand the game. I knew I was due, that’s the way I look at it and I’m glad it happened tonight.
“My main goal and my job is to play defense, to start with, and after that it’s offense. I play defense, and then bring that to the table.”
The reality is that Drew is a better hitter than he showed in the postseason. In August, he went on a tear and hit .304 while boasting an .867 OPS for the month. He hit .253 with 13 home runs overall in the regular season.
Drew’s slick fielding is what prompted manager John Farrell to stick with him throughout the postseason, and the Sox manager was more than happy to see his shortstop catch a break at the plate.
“Almost a little poetic justice tonight given the struggles of Stephen Drew offensively,” Farrell said. “We could see his timing start to come around over in St. Louis, and for him to hit one out of the ballpark, a big night for him.”
Drew’s home run jogged the memory of another significant Drew homer — his brother J.D.’s grand slam in Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS that kept Boston's title run alive.
But when asked about the significance of following in his brother’s footsteps, Drew soaked in the moment for himself.
“I wore No. 7 for him, and I look up to him, and he carries himself well,” Drew said. “But now I got a Red Sox ring, and I wore the same number, and there’s something magical about it.”Anthony Gulizia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @gulizia_a