Ridiculed and reviled through decades of defeat, the Red Sox didn't just beat the St. Louis Cardinals, owners of the best record in baseball, they swept them for their first crown since 1918.
Johnny Damon (search) homered on the fourth pitch of the game, Derek Lowe made it stand up and the Red Sox won 3-0 Wednesday night. Edgar Renteria grounded out for the final out, wrapping up a Series in which the Red Sox never trailed.
Chants of "Let's go, Red Sox!" bounced all around Busch Stadium, with Boston fans as revved-up as they were relieved. Only 10 nights earlier, the Red Sox were just three outs from getting swept by the New York Yankees in the AL championship series before becoming the first team in baseball postseason history to overcome a 3-0 deficit.
The Red Sox made it look easy in taking their sixth championship. Gone was the heartbreak of four Game 7 losses since their last title, a drought — some insist it was a curse — that really began after they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920.
Damon's leadoff homer and Trot Nixon's two-out, two-run double on a 3-0 pitch were all that Lowe needed. Having won the first-round clincher against Anaheim in relief and then winning Game 7 at Yankee Stadium, Lowe blanked the Cards on a mere three hits for seven innings.
Relievers Bronson Arroyo and Alan Embree worked the eighth and Keith Foulke finished it off for his first save.
Even the heavens reacted to the news with a total lunar eclipse. And what a reward the Red Sox earned for their first Series sweep: They get to raise the World Series banner next April 11 in the home opener at Fenway Park, with the Yankees in town forced to watch it.
The Red Sox became the third straight wild-card team to win it, relying on the guts of Curt Schilling and guile of Pedro Martinez. And they took it in the same year they traded away popular shortstop Nomar Garciaparra.
Boston got key contributions from almost everyone. Backup outfielder Dave Roberts did not play in the Series, yet it was his stolen base in the ninth inning of Game 4 in the ALCS that began the comeback against Mariano Rivera.
And while second baseman Mark Bellhorn was born in Boston, no one else on the roster came from anywhere near Beantown. And the only homegrown players on the team are Trot Nixon and rookie Kevin Youkilis.
No matter, this win might make all of them as much a part of New England lore as Plymouth Rock and Paul Revere.
Or, as Red Sox owner John Henry said close to gametime: "People tell me this is the biggest thing since the Revolutionary War."
The Boston win also left no doubt which city is now the most jinxed in baseball. It's Chicago — the Cubs last won it all in 1908, the White Sox in 1917.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals team that led the majors with 105 wins never showed up. The timely hitting, solid pitching and sharp baserunning that served them so well all season completely broke down.
Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds, the meat of the order, combined for just one RBI. Rolen got it on a sacrifice fly, and it was little consolation as he went 0-for-15.