BOSTON -- In winning the World Series with a 6-1 victory over the Cardinals in Game 6 on Wednesday night, the Boston Red Sox claimed their place in history in emphatic fashion.
By the end of the fourth inning, they led, 6-0, turning the rest of the night into joyous anticipation for the celebratory pile-up of players that occurred once it truly was over.
After once going 86 years without a World Series title, the one the Red Sox clinched Wednesday was their third in the last 10 seasons, the most of any team in the Majors over that span.
In an otherwise tense Fall Classic that they trailed, 2-1, after the first three games, manager John Farrell's team finished strong by winning the last three.
The team that started from the bottom -- as in a last-place, 69-win finish in 2012 -- is back on top of the baseball universe.
Shane Victorino got the party started with his first hit of the World Series, a three-run double high off the Green Monster against Cardinals rookie starter Michael Wacha, who was 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in the postseason before struggling in Game 6.
It was a grand return for Victorino, who missed the previous two games with tightness in his back. And it was the second straight series that Victorino broke out of his slump on clinch night. Against the Tigers in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, the outfielder did it with a grand slam.
John Lackey kept the place buzzing by going 6 2/3 strong innings for the win, his second career World Series clincher. Though he allowed nine hits, Lackey minimized the damage, giving up one run while walking one and striking out five.
When the righty won it all with the Angels in 2002, he was just a rookie. This time, he was a veteran who didn't throw a pitch last season after coming off Tommy John Surgery.
Much like Lackey's elbow, the Red Sox were reconstructed as a team, one which had unique team unity they displayed through bearded faces and clutch play that was evident all season on both sides of the ball.
David Ortiz, who had a magnificent World Series and was named Series MVP -- and is the only Red Sox player to be on all three of the club's recent championship squads -- finally got pitched around in Game 6.
But his teammates, many of whom had slumped at the plate in the Fall Classic, came through with the big hits.
Stephen Drew was 1-for-16 in the World Series before depositing a solo shot into Boston's bullpen in right-center to jump-start a three-run rally in the fourth. Mike Napoli and Victorino added RBI singles against Lance Lynn before the inning was through, and the Red Sox were in control with the 6-0 lead.
After both teams squandered first-and-second, nobody-out opportunities in the second, the Red Sox broke through in the third and never looked back.
Jacoby Ellsbury started it with a single to right. When Ellsbury moved to second on a fielder's-choice grounder by Pedroia, the Cardinals had no interest in letting Ortiz beat them again, so they walked him intentionally. Napoli struck out for the second out, but Wacha made a big misfire when he hit Gomes on a 1-1 pitch to load the bases.
And that set the table for Victorino, who got enough of Wacha's 2-1 fastball to produce the bases-clearing double. As Gomes narrowly beat the throw home, Victorino motored into third, and Fenway Park was roaring with approval.
The Cardinals tried to answer in the fourth, when Allen Craig singled and Yadier Molina reached on a rare error by Pedroia. But Lackey again got out of it, inducing Matt Adams into a lineout to left and catching David Freese looking at a fastball. A fired-up Lackey yelled with emotion as he skipped off the mound.
There was finally some drama in the seventh, when St. Louis put together a two-out rally against Lackey. Daniel Descalso started it with a single and Matt Carpenter followed with a double. Carlos Beltran finally got his team on the board with an RBI single to make it 6-1.
Farrell came out to get Lackey, but the righty talked the manager into letting him face Matt Holliday. After Lackey walked Holliday to load the bases, he was removed and got a thunderous ovation as he walked off.
Fenway got loud again when Junichi Tazawa came on and snuffed out the threat, getting Craig on a grounder to first.
Brandon Workman tossed a scoreless eighth, with closer Koji Uehara entering in a non-save situation in the ninth to end the Cardinals' hopes and begin the celebration throughout Red Sox Nation.
------ Source: MLB.com
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt