Boston Red Sox

Oct 28, 2018; Los Angeles, CA: Boston Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce hits a two-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning in game five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)

Oct 28, 2018; Los Angeles, CA: Boston Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce hits a two-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning in game five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

In the end, the Boston Red Sox got their greatest World Series performance from a mid-season trade acquisition. First baseman Steve Pearce won the Willy Mays World Series MVP award after the Red Sox finished off the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night, winning their ninth world championship in franchise history.

Pearce went 4-for-12 in the series, and made all of his hits count. He homered three times and drove in eight runs, including the eventual game-winning runs in both Games 4 and 5. Pearce joined Babe Ruth and Ted Kluszewski as the only players in major league history who hit multiple home runs in a World Series game at age 35 or older.

The Red Sox originally acquired Pearce in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays on June 28. The Red Sox sent minor league INF Santiago Espinal and cash considerations to Toronto in the deal.

After going 0-for-4 with three walks in the first three games of the World Series, Pearce took over starting in Game 4. He homered off the Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen to tie the game 4-4 in the eighth inning, then followed that up in his next at-bat with a bases-clearing double in the ninth off Kenta Maeda to give the Red Sox a 9-4 lead. They would need that hit, because closer Craig Kimbrel allowed two runs before closing out a 9-6 win.

Oct 27, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce (25) celebrates after hitting a solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the eighth inning in game four of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

In Game 5, with the Dodgers’ season on the line, Clayton Kershaw took the mound and quickly reverted to the shaky postseason pitcher he’s had the reputation for being – thanks to Pearce. The first baseman took Kershaw deep for a two-run home run in the first inning, and it would be all the offense they needed in the Game 5 clincher. Pearce did tack on his third home run of the series in the eighth inning off Pedro Baez to make it 5-1.

The Red Sox had other strong candidates for MVP, including David Price (2-0, 13.2 innings in three appearances, 1.98 ERA in series), Nathan Eovaldi (eight innings, one run, six strikeouts, one hold, one tough-luck loss), and even reliever Joe Kelly (six innings, zero runs, 10 strikeouts). But it was impossible to overlook Pearce’s massive contributions on offense that lifted the Red Sox to their fourth world championship since 2004.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.