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“He’s as hot as anyone you’re going to see this time of year,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “We tried to make tough pitches in tough situations, tried to pitch around him at times.”

Ortiz’s .760 on-base percentage and batting average were the second-highest in Series history, trailing only Billy Hatcher’s marks of .800 and .750 in 1990 for Cincinnati.

David has been unbelievable his whole career this time of the year. It’s his time of the year. I’ve been on the wrong side of it a few times,” winning pitcher John Lackey said.

As Ortiz came up in the first inning, Molina and plate umpire Jim Joyce talked about him.

“This guy’s unbelievable,” Molina said on Fox audio.

“He’s fun to watch,” Joyce said.

Yet for all the impact he made swinging the bat in getting 11 of Boston’s 41 hits _ or just standing there and watching the Cardinals pitch around him _ Ortiz made an equally important contribution with his words.

With St. Louis leading the Series 2-1 and the Red Sox scuffling in Game 4, Ortiz called his bearded band together for an impromptu huddle in the dugout.

Ortiz said he merely told the guys to relax, stay loose and appreciate the moment. His teammates told a different story after Boston rallied to win.

“It was like 24 kindergartners looking up at their teacher. He got everyone’s attention and we looked him right in the eyes,” said Jonny Gomes, who answered with a winning home run. “That message was pretty powerful.”

That’s also what the Red Sox expect from their Dominican-born thumper, known for his neatly tailored suits and dazzling diamond jewelry.

Whatever the Red Sox need, and whenever they need it, he’s ready. When the Series shifted to St. Louis and there was no designated hitter, he adeptly moved from the DH spot to first base.

He did the same thing way back in the 2004 Series, and again in 2007 when the Red Sox swept Colorado.

As the Red Sox celebrated on the field after the final out, Ortiz considered what it meant to win a third title. Easy, he answered.

“That means I’m getting old,” he said.