The Boston Red Sox have won four World Series championships in the past 15 seasons, becoming the most dominant team so far in the 21st century. In those four World Series, the Red Sox have played in 19 games, winning a remarkable 16 of them. While every World Series game the Red Sox play in is special to Boston fans, I’ve decided to take on the task of ranking all of the games from 19 to 1. Factors considered in devising the rankings include games that clinched a championship, dominant pitching performances, memorable big hits, victories in close games, wins after losses, wins on the road, late inning runs scored, and what I like to call the “weirdness factor” for unusual moments in World Series games.
19. 2013 World Series Game 2 – 10/24/13 – Cardinals 4, Red Sox 2
The Red Sox swept the 2004 and 2007 World Series, and won Game 1 in 2013, so this loss ended a 9-game win streak and became the Red Sox first World Series games loss since 1986. This is also the Red Sox only loss at Fenway Park in these 19 games. Despite the Sox looking lifeless against Cardinals’ starter Michael Wacha, David Ortiz put them up 2-1 with a home run in the 6th. That was all squandered in the 7th inning when two errors contributed to a three-run inning for the Cardinals.
18. 2013 World Series Game 3 – 10/26/13 – Red Sox 4, Cardinals 5
The Red Sox suffered back-to-back losses and were behind in a World Series for the only time in the 21st century after the next game in St. Louis. With the score tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, Dustin Pedroia made an absolutely stellar diving play and threw home to prevent Yadier Molina from scoring the winning run. But then catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia attempted to get a double play on Allen Craig running to third and threw wide of third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Craig tripped over Middlebrooks prone body and umpire Jim Joyce made a controversial call of interference allowing the winning run to score for the Cardinals.
17. 2007 World Series Game 1 – 10/24/07 – Rockies 1, Red Sox 13
The Rockies entered the World Series having swept the Phillies in the NLDS and the Diamondbacks in the NLCS, and had won 21 of their last 22 overall. Meanwhile, the Red Sox had to claw themselves back from a 3-1 deficit to win the ALCS from Cleveland. So, of course, game 1 was a blow-out for the Red Sox. Josh Becket struck out the first 4 batters he faced on his way to 9 Ks in 7 innings, and rookie Dustin Pedroia homered to lead off the game, among other highlights.
16. 2013 World Series Game 1 – 10/23/13 – Cardinals 1, Red Sox 8
Another Game 1, another blowout. The Red Sox came out strong with 3 runs in the 1st inning and 2 runs in the 2nd, aided by multiple errors by Cardinal fielders. A great catch by Carlos Beltran at the bullpen wall robbed David Ortiz of a grand slam that would’ve made the game even more of a laugher. Papi did get a two-run homer later in the game. Jon Lester was masterful in 7-2/3 innings of scoreless pitching for the win.
15. 2004 World Series Game 2 – 10/24/04 – Cardinals 2, Red Sox 6
Curt Schilling returned to the mound for the first time after his famous “Bloody Sock” game in the 2004 ALCS, still feeling the effects of a torn tendon in his right ankle. Nevertheless, he still pitched 6 innings allowing one unearned run for the win. The Sox committed four errors for the second game in a row, with 3 by Bill Mueller alone. Orlando Cabrera, Jason Varitek, and Mark Bellhorn drove in two runs apiece for the Red Sox offense.
14. 2018 World Series Game 1 – 10/23/18 – Dodgers 4, Red Sox 8
Game 1 was touted as a matchup of ace pitchers, Chris Sale and Clayton Kershaw, but neither pitcher had his best stuff. The Red Sox scored two runs in the first inning and one in the third, but the Dodgers kept chipping away to tie the game up. The Red Sox went ahead for good in the fifth inning, but the close game felt it could go either way until finally a cathartic 3-run blast by pinch hitter Eduardo Núñez in the 7th gave the Red Sox a comfortable 4-run lead.
13. 2004 World Series Game 1 – 10/23/04 – Cardinals 9, Red Sox 11
Still giddy after coming back from being 0-3 versus the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS, the first game of the World Series proved to be a sloppy one. The Red Sox made 4 errors and the two teams combined to score 20 runs, a World Series game 1 record. Things started well with a 4-run first inning powered by a David Ortiz 3-run homer. But despite having lead the game by as many as 5 runs, by the top of 8th inning the game was tied 9-9. In the bottom of the 8th, Mark Belhorn hit a 2-run homer that pinged off the Pesky Pole to put the Red Sox up for good.
12. 2007 World Series Game 2 – 10/25/07 – Rockies 1, Red Sox 2
The Colorado Rockies scored a run in the first inning off of Red Sox starter Curt Schilling for what proved to be the only time they’d have a lead in the World Series. Schilling and Red Sox relievers Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon kept the Rockies bats quiet after that. Jason Varitek and Mike Lowell provided the offense to allow the Red Sox to eke out the win.
11. 2018 World Series Game 2 – 10/24/18 – Dodgers 2, Red Sox 4
Los Angeles was up 2-1 in the top of the 5th when Andrew Benintendi made a balletic catch the nipped a further rally by the Dodgers in the bud. In the bottom of the 5th, the Red Sox had their own 3-run rally to take the lead for good. David Price allowed only 3 hits in 6 innings of work, and Joe Kelly, Nathan Eovaldi, and Craig Kimbrel kept the Dodgers hitless for the rest of the game.
10. 2018 World Series Game 3 – 10/26/18-10/27/18 – Red Sox 2, Dodgers 3
The weirdness factor plays a role in getting this Red Sox loss into the top ten. This game was already a World Series classic after 7 innings with the Red Sox struggling against the Dodgers’ Walker Buehler, and the Red Sox starter Rick Porcello and the bullpen allowing the Dodgers only to score 1 run. Jackie Bradley, Jr. tied the game with a home run off Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen in the 8th. What had been a briskly-moving pitchers duel then entered extra innings. The Red Sox took the lead in the 13th, but a throwing error by Ian Kinsler allowed the Dodgers to score the tying run in the bottom of the inning. Nathan Eovaldi, who had been scheduled to be the Game 4 starter for the Red Sox, had one of the most remarkable World Series performances as a reliever instead, throwing 97 pitches over 6 innings, allowing only 3 hits. Unfortunately, one of those hits was a walkoff homerun by the Dodgers’ Max Muncy in the 18th inning. The marathon game set a World Series record for longest game by innings and by time at seven hours and 20 minutes, longer than the entire 4 game World Series in 1939.
9. 2007 World Series Game 3 – 10/27/07 – Red Sox 10, Rockies 5
At four hours, 9 minutes, this game also set a World Series record for longest 9 inning game (since broken). The first World Series game ever played at Coors Field saw plenty of offense. Rookies Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia combined for 7 hits, 4 RBIs, and 3 runs scored. Daisuke Matsuzaka became the first Japanese pitcher to start and win a World Series game, and even had a hit and 2 RBIs.
8. 2013 World Series Game 6 – 10/30/13 – Red Sox 6, Cardinals 1
The Red Sox were up 6-0 by the 4th inning, and John Lackey pitched masterfully for 6-2/3 innings, with the bullpen preventing the Cardinals from getting any hits for the rest of the game. Despite being a rout, this is still a significant game for Red Sox fan as it is the only time in these four World Series victories that the Sox clinched the championship at Fenway Park. Five years later this is still the most recent time any team has clinched a World Series victory in their home ballpark.
7. 2013 World Series Game 5 – 10/28/13 – Red Sox 3, Cardinals 1
Jon Lester once again proved he was the ace, allowing 1 run on 4 hits in 7-2/3 innings. The Red Sox scratched together 2 runs in the 7th inning to take the lead for good. Koji Uehara took over for Lester to get a four-out save.
6. 2004 World Series Game 3 – 10/26/04 – Red Sox 4, Cardinals 1
From 1998 to 2002, Pedro Martinez was the most dominant pitcher ever to wear a Red Sox uniform. By 2004, he’d begun to decline, but in this World Series start, Red Sox fans got a glimpse of the old Pedro. Martinez allowed only 3 hits in 7 innings pitched, with 6 strikeouts. It was also the last time Martinez ever pitched for the Red Sox. A homerun by Manny Ramirez, and great defensive plays by Ramirez and David Ortiz helped earn Martinez his World Series victory.
5. 2007 World Series Game 4 – 10/28/07 – Red Sox 4, Rockies 3
The Red Sox had a 3-0 lead by the 7th inning, but the Rockies chipped away in the 7th and 8th inning to make this the closest of all the Red Sox World Series clinching wins. World Series MVP Mike Lowell hit a home run and Jonathan Papelbon got the save for starter Jon Lester.
4. 2018 World Series Game 5 – 10/28/18 – Red Sox 5, Dodgers 1
David Price, who started Game 2 for the Red Sox, and faced three batters in the Game 3 marathon, started once again for Game 5. He did not appear tired at all, but stronger than ever, allowing only 1 run on 3 hits in 7 innings. World Series MVP Steve Pearce hit a 2-run homer in the 1st inning, and then Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, and Pearce again each had solo home runs in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings. Joe Kelly and Chris Sale both struck out the side for the final 6 outs to clinch the Red Sox 4th championship in 15 years.
3. 2013 World Series Game 4 – 10/27/13 – Red Sox 4, Cardinals 2
Down 2 games to 1 and still smarting over the previous night’s interference call, this game felt like a must win for the Red Sox. The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the 3rd, and Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz was lifted for a pinch hitter in the 4th. But Red Sox relievers – including remarkable performances by Felix Doubront and John Lackey – were able to hold the Cardinals to just 1 run on 3 hits the rest of the game. Jonny Gomes’ 3-run homer in the 6th inning put the Red Sox ahead for good. Koji Uehara got the save, memorably picking off Cardinals’ pinch runner Kolten Wong for the final out.
2. 2004 World Series Game 4 – 10/27/04 – Red Sox 3, Cardinals 0
Red Sox fans waited generations to see this game, played during a lunar eclipse that made the moon appear a deep red color. Johnny Damon lead off the game with a home run, and David Ortiz and Trot Nixon each drove in a run in the third for all the offense the Red Sox would need. Derek Lowe allowed only 3 hits over 7 innings of work, and the bullpen maintained the shutout, the only time in these 19 games when the Red Sox did not allow a run. Keith Foulke got the save and all of New England celebrated the end of the 86-year World Series drought.
1. 2018 World Series Game 4 – 10/27/18 – Red Sox 9, Dodgers 6
After a disheartening loss in the 18-inning game earlier that morning, the Red Sox looked to be in a bad place having used their planned Game 4 starter Nathan Eovaldi and most of their bullpen in Game 3. The Red Sox batters definitely looked tired as they only managed one hit off of Dodgers’ starter Rich Hill in the first six inning. Red Sox emergency starter Eduardo Rodriguez held his own for five scoreless innings, but then allowed 4 runs in the 6th, including a devastating 3-run blast by Yasiel Puig. It looked like the turning point in a World Series going in the Dodgers’ favor, but the Red Sox did not follow the script. Mitch Moreland hit a 3-run homer in the top of the 7th inning. Then Steve Pearce hit a solo home run to tie the game in the 8th. Just as fans began to fear another extra-inning marathon, the Red Sox pounded out 5 more runs in the top of the 9th inning, including 3 runs driven in by Pearce’s base-clearing double. With 9 runs scored in the final 3 innings, the Red Sox did not just win the game but took a commanding 3-1 lead in the World Series.