BOSTON — David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox romped to their third World Series championship in 10 seasons, thumping October ace Michael Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 last night in Game 6.
Shane Victorino drove in four runs and John Lackey pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning as the Red Sox clinched a crown on their own field for the first time since 1918.
Fenway Park was rollicking, with the crowd standing from the very first pitch. Victorino lined a three-run double off the Green Monster in the third, and the cheers, chants and singing of “Sweet Caroline” only got louder after that.
Many fans paid over $1,000 per ticket for this night, eager to be part of an in-house celebration that had been building for nearly a century.
Ortiz drew three walks and scored twice. He reached base a whopping 19 times in 25 plate appearances.
Lackey gave up one run in 6 2-3 innings, becoming the first pitcher to start and win a World Series clincher for two different teams, having led the Angels past Barry Bonds and the Giants in Game 7 in 2002 as a rookie.
Stephen Drew hit a solo home run that someone in a Red Sox jacket caught in the bullpen. Mike Napoli, back in the lineup with Ortiz returning to the DH slot, hit an RBI single into the “B Strong” cutout in the grass that pays tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.
In all, a festive night for this bunch of bearded Bostonians under first-year John Farrell. The Red Sox joined the 1991 Minnesota Twins as the only teams to win the World Series a year after finishing in last place.
The Cardinals dropped their third straight game. After winning Game 3 on an obstruction call, they couldn’t seem to get out of their own way.
A day after the Cardinals’ plane was delayed in St. Louis for seven hours because of mechanical problems, the NL champions didn’t show up at Fenway. An example? Jacoby Ellsbury reached on second baseman Matt Carpenter’s error in the fifth, then got picked off first but escaped a run down when the Cards made four throws to no avail.
Wacha, too, was downright ordinary after such a brilliant run this month.
The 22-year-old began the evening at 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in four starts this postseason. He escaped a jam in the third, got tagged by Victorino in the third and left during a three-run fourth.
It was a sorry way for Wacha to finish up. His final pitches were four wide ones to intentionally walk Ortiz, and he walked off the mound while fans mockingly chanted his name.
Victorino, meanwhile, was in a celebrating mood.
The sparkplug outfielder, one of several newcomers to the Red Sox this year, had missed two games because of back stiffness and was 0 for 10 in the Series before his go-ahead drive.
Victorino thumped his chest three times after pulling into third while Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina argued with plate umpire Jim Joyce, claiming he had tagged Jonny Gomes.
It was a familiar demonstration for Victorino. His grand slam at Fenway clinched the AL championship series in Game 6 against Detroit.
An intentional walk to Ortiz with one out helped set up Victorino’s hit. Molina went to the mound to visit Wacha when he fell behind Victorino, and the key hit came moments later.
Before that, Dustin Pedroia came the closest to putting a run on the hand-operated scoreboard on the Green Monster. He launched a long, high drive in the first to left field that hooked foul before reaching the pole.
Pedroia gave a quick wave halfway down the line, trying to coax the ball to stay fair, but it curved. Still, he reminded fans here of one of the most cherish moments ever at the century-old ballpark — Carlton Fisk waving a home run fair in the 12th inning that lifted Boston over Cincinnati in Game 6 of the 1975 Series.
Leaving no trick to chance, the Red Sox had Fisk throw out one of the first balls before this Game 6.
Wacha won Game 2, dented only by Ortiz’s two-run homer. Ortiz did damage to the entire St. Louis pitching staff, going 11 for 15 in the first five games.
Reliever Kevin Siegrist struck out Ortiz in the sixth, then exited as Carlos Martinez became the Cardinals’ sixth pitcher. By then, though, it seemed too late to save St. Louis.
All around the ballpark and beyond, it was clear Boston was on the brink of something special.
With the Prudential tower lit up with “Go Sox,” fans filed past increased a beefed-up security presence. Vendors outside the gates urged Red Sox rooters to buy extra programs because they could someday be valuable souvenirs. Signs on the videoboard advised of late-night changes to the public transportation system.
The ballpark organist tried to set a lucky tone, playing “This Magic Moment” and “Daydream Believer” and “I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover” during batting practice. Local band The Dropkick Murphys performed the national anthem, right after Red Sox greats Luis Tiant and Fisk threw out ceremonial first pitches.
Fisk, still worshipped at Fenway for that winning home run in ‘75, got right into the spirit that has taken over these Red Sox — before his toss, the Hall of Famer put on a playful beard.