DENVER (AP) -Drenched from the celebration in Boston's bustling clubhouse, Mike Lowell clutched his new trophy and broke into a sheepish smile.
He's much more than some throw-in on a Red Sox trade - and he knows it. He's the World Series MVP.
The steady third baseman capped an outstanding October with a big performance Sunday night, helping Boston finish a four-game sweep with a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
Earlier in the Series, Lowell called himself ``the throw-in'' on the 2005 deal with Florida that brought ace Josh Beckett to Boston. Nobody looks at Lowell that way anymore.
``I'm on Cloud 9. It's unbelievable,'' he said. ``We've got a lot of people to give credit to.''
Lowell homered, doubled and scored twice in the Game 4 clincher at Coors Field, dirtying his uniform with a headfirst slide at the plate that typified his whatever-it-takes attitude. He hit .400 (6-for-15) in the Series with four RBIs, three walks and a team-high six runs.
``Pretty good throw-in, I guess,'' said Lowell, a survivor of testicular cancer. ``Icing on the cake. This is just extra special.''
When the Red Sox swept St. Louis in 2004 for their first championship in 86 years, Lowell was still in Florida. This time, he's got an invitation to the party.
A key cog in Boston's powerful lineup, Lowell bats fifth behind David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Lowell's job is to protect those big boppers by driving in enough runs to make opponents think twice about walking them.
Few could have done it better this year.
Lowell set career bests by batting .324 with a team-leading 120 RBIs. Pretty good numbers to show potential suitors in the offseason, when he can become a free agent.
His best sales pitch, however, might be his production under pressure.
Lowell, who also won a World Series ring with the Marlins in 2003, hit .348 this postseason with two homers and 13 RBIs. He did it quietly, like almost everything. But that doesn't mean it went unnoticed.
About 15 minutes after the final out, a huge horde of red-clad Boston fans behind the third base dugout chanted ``MVP! MVP!'' for Lowell and ``Re-sign Lowell! Re-sign Lowell!''
``Free agency to me is very new, so I'm going to take it step by step. But I've never hid the fact that I enjoy playing here in Boston,'' Lowell said. ``I have great teammates, a great manager, great coaches, so we'll see what happens. But I'm more focused on celebrating right now.''
A four-time All-Star, Lowell got tossed into the Beckett trade because the small-budget Marlins wanted to shed his $9 million salary after he had a disappointing season.
The Red Sox plugged him in at third base, and they've been rewarded with two fine years of professionalism and leadership.
``I was the throw-in in the deal. They needed Josh Beckett,'' Lowell said last week. ``They needed to get a top right-handed pitcher, and I don't think the Red Sox after the '05 season were like, Lowell has to be in that deal for us to take Beckett. I'm sure that's not the way they were going.''
It was Beckett who won the 2003 World Series MVP for the surprising Marlins.
Now, Lowell has a gleaming prize of his own.
``I think in '03 no one expected us to do anything, so we were kind of beating the odds each time,'' Lowell said. ``But I think it's a little different when, from the onset, a lot of people are expecting you to win a world championship and if you don't it's a disappointing year. For us to come through and do what we thought we were capable of doing is unbelievable.''

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