LOS ANGELES -- David Freese did it again. It just wasn't enough.The veteran infielder with the knack for getting big hits in the postseason had another fine night in October, only this time it was in defeat, as the Red Sox cruised to a 5-1 victory in Game 5 to
LOS ANGELES -- David Freese did it again. It just wasn't enough.
The veteran infielder with the knack for getting big hits in the postseason had another fine night in October, only this time it was in defeat, as the Red Sox cruised to a 5-1 victory in Game 5 to win the World Series on Sunday at Dodger Stadium.
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Freese led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run to right field on the first pitch from Red Sox starter David Price to shave the early Boston lead to 2-1 and get the crowd on its feet. The Red Sox had jumped ahead on a two-run home run by Steve Pearce off Clayton Kershaw in the top of the first.
Freese, who was acquired by the Dodgers on Aug. 31 from the Pirates for the express purpose of boosting the offense against left-handed pitching, did just that. He finished with eight hits in 21 at-bats this postseason and was a threat every time he stepped into the batter's box against one of Boston's lefties. Los Angeles has a club option to retain Freese for $6 million in 2019 or buy him out for $500,000.
Freese's round-tripper was the sixth postseason leadoff homer and third to begin a World Series game in franchise history. He joined Chris Taylor (Game 1, 2017 vs. the Astros) and Davey Lopes (Game 6, 1978 vs. the Yankees) as the only Dodgers to achieve the latter distinction.
With Sunday's knock, Freese also became the second player in history to have a walk-off home run and a leadoff homer in the World Series. The Yankees' Derek Jeter also accomplished the feat, leading off Game 4 in 2000 against the Mets, and ending Game 4 in 2001 against the D-backs.
"I was just trying to drive something over the second baseman's head. I caught it and it went [out]," Freese said. "It fired us up and got us back. Obviously, the two-run homer in the top of the inning was tough, but coming back and getting that run right away sparked us back."
In the third inning, Freese recorded a triple when Red Sox right fielder J.D. Martinez lost the ball in the sky to become the second player in MLB history to homer and triple in the same World Series game on two occasions. He also accomplished the feat in Game 6 in 2011. Hall of Famer Paul Molitor did it in Games 3 and 6 in 1993.
The play was actually somewhat reminiscent of Freese's 2011 triple, a ball he also hit to the opposite field and that Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz misplayed.
"I wasn't running as fast as I could, but I was running pretty good," Freese said. "I was just trying to play the game the right way. Maybe in mid-July, I'm running a little slower, but you have to play the game the right way. Bottom line."
Freese's history of success is well documented. In the 2011 National League Championship Series, he hit .545 with three home runs in six games for the Cardinals against the Brewers and was named the series' Most Valuable Player. He later earned the World Series MVP Award.
"You think about the guys in here that don't have [a World Series title], or the guys who have one and want two," Freese said. "I try not to think about myself in that situation because it's really not about yourself, it's about everybody else in the organization. It's tough. Guys are crushed and disappointed, but we are all so proud of what we accomplished."
Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.