The Red Sox went 16-11 in the final month of the season to clinch the American League East, and nobody was more important down the stretch than David Ortiz and rookie Jacoby Ellsbury.
Ortiz hit .396 with 36 hits and 27 RBIs in 91 at-bats, and Ellsbury hit .361 with three home runs and 17 RBIs in September.
For their performances, both were honored on Monday. Ortiz was named the AL Player of the Month, which was presented by Sharp, while Ellsbury earned the AL Rookie of the Month Award.
Ortiz earned the award three days after general manager Theo Epstein said that Ortiz had "an underappreciated year."
"All the home runs aren't quite there or the RBIs we've seen in the past, but if you look, he's had one of the best offensive seasons in the American League, if not the best," Epstein said. "It's pretty impressive what he's done."
Especially in the final month. The 31-year-old slugger had 21 extra-base hits, including nine home runs and 12 doubles, leading the league in slugging percentage at .824. His season totals stand at an impressive .332 average with 35 home runs and 117 RBIs.
Ellsbury, meanwhile, was drawing great respect from his teammates at the beginning of the month.
"If you're not impressed with him, I think you have a problem," said Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell of Ellsbury in the first week of September. "He definitely doesn't look overmatched. He's been hitting good pitchers and good pitches, and he looks like there's a reason why he was one of our top prospects and a big Draft pick."
The 24-year-old outfielder proved Lowell right, going on a 13-game hit streak from Sept. 1-15. For the month, Ellsbury had six doubles, a triple, 16 runs scored and eight steals.
Ellsbury hit .353 with three home runs and 18 RBIs in 33 games this season.
It was the third AL Player of the Month Award for Ortiz (September 2005 and July 2006). Others receiving votes were the Devil Rays' Carlos Pena and the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez. Ortiz will receive a 52-inch Sharp AQUOS LCD-TV for winning the award.
Ellsbury becomes the third Red Sox rookie to win the award this season, joining Hideki Okajima and Dustin Pedroia. Ellsbury gets a specially designed trophy for winning his first AL Rookie of the Month Award.
Drew Davison is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.