LOS ANGELES • On March 31, the third day of the regular season, the Boston Red Sox moved into first place in the American League East, holding it almost exclusively the rest of the way.
By May, it was clear they were the best team in Major League Baseball and they entered the post-season this month with a franchise-record and league-best 108 wins, and a target on their backs.
On Sunday, they completed the seven-month marathon and cemented their status atop the sport.
Riding the left arm of David Price and the powerful swings of Steve Pearce, the Red Sox dispatched the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 5 to cap a dominant season, claiming the World Series title - their fourth in 15 years and first since 2013.
They carried their regular-season form all the way to the best-of-seven World Series and overwhelmed the Dodgers 4-1, clinching their ninth overall championship with a lethal combination of power and pitching.
Game 5 starter Price surrendered one run on three hits in seven plus innings to collect his third straight post-season win, while all the Red Sox runs were scored via home runs.
Pearce, the World Series' Most Valuable Player, gave Boston a 2-0 lead they would never relinquish with a two-run blast in the first and added a solo shot in the eighth, while Mookie Betts and JD Martinez also hit solo home runs.
Price later said winning the World Series was the whole reason he joined Boston from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015.
"Seeing all these grown men just acting like little kids, that's what it's all about," he said. "To come out on top the way we did is unreal. This is why I came to Boston. I know it is a tough place to play."
His two stellar World Series starts also put to rest any questions about his ability to perform in the post-season.
"It was tough to answer that question in spring training day after day, over and over," the veteran added. "I hold all the cards now. And that feels so good."
The Dodgers arrived at Chavez Ravine knowing that only 13 teams have come back from 3-1 deficits to win a best-of-seven post-season series, but Pearce had other ideas.
"This is the best feeling in my life. This is what you grow up wishing you could be a part of. With that special group of guys out there, to celebrate with them, that was awesome," he said.
NY TIMES, REUTERS