BOSTON -- The last time Boston played a World Series Game 6 at Fenway Park, Carlton Fisk dramatically waved fair his winning home run in the bottom of the 12th inning, creating an everlasting memory for the home fans.
Alas, the Red Sox bowed the next day in Game 7 to the Cincinnati Reds and Fisk's heroics merely became a footnote.
A new and even more enjoyable memory was created Wednesday night in another Game 6 at Fenway that Red Sox fans never will forget. This time, there would be no need for a Game 7.
Shane Victorino, hitless since his grand slam against Detroit in Game 6 of the ALCS won the pennant, made his first breakthrough of the World Series count in a big way. His three-run double off the Green Monster in the third inning set the tone, and the Red Sox clinched their first championship at home since 1918 with a 6-1 triumph over the St. Louis Cardinals.
"I'm still trying to take this all in," manager John Farrell said after the Red Sox finished off their worst-to-first turnabout. "From where we've come from, a lot has happened over the last 13 months. The one thing that stands out is their will to win."
It was the third crown in 10 years for the Red Sox, who somehow managed to go 86 years without one before this period of excellence. But the sweeps of St. Louis in 2004 and Colorado in 2007 finished on the road, forcing members of Red Sox Nation to watch from their couches and various drinking establishments back home.
And, boy, were the hometown fans ready to party. The Boston Police Department sent out a tweet after four innings announcing that all bars in the Kenmore area were full and asking anyone outside and not holding a game ticket to vacate the area.
Good luck with that.
In winning their third consecutive game over the Cards, the Red Sox became the first team this postseason to solve sensational rookie right-hander Michael Wacha. He had allowed only three runs this October in 29 innings, but Boston rocked him for five hits and six runs over 3 2/3 innings, with four walks.
Wisely, the Cardinals decided not to let white-hot David Ortiz beat them, taking their chances with mere mortals. Ortiz was walked four times, three intentionally, and easily claimed MVP honors by reaching base in 19 of his 25 plate appearances (.760 OBP). Not even boxing judges could screw up that vote.
In accepting the award, Ortiz repeated his famous phrase shouted through an on-field microphone after the Boston Marathon bombings in April, this time minus the expletive: "This is our 'hmmmmm' city!"
Victorino was 0 for 10 in the Series and had missed the previous two games with an ailing back before delivering his three-run double as well as an RBI single.
Stephen Drew, whose one hit in the Series was a pop-up in Game 1 that Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright forgot to catch, crushed a home run to right off Wacha leading off the fourth inning, touching off a three-run rally. Ortiz was walked intentionally for the second time that inning and third time overall but it did no good.
Mike Napoli, with no hits since his three-run double in Game 1, singled in one run that inning and Victorino did likewise. Erstwhile starter Lance Lynn took over for Wacha and unloaded an entire tanker of gasoline on the fire, surrendering the run-scoring hits and walking Jonny Gomes while recording no outs.
"I'm a fan of the game; I knew what this was about," said Victorino, who signed as a free agent as Boston remade its team with several key additions last winter. "Even though they were in last place, I knew this was a first-class organization. They're about winning. The want to be at the top."
As if Wacha turning into a pumpkin the day before Halloween wasn't bad enough, the St. Louis offense continued its disappearing act. Maybe the Cardinals used up all of their clutch hits during the regular season, when they batted a remarkable .330 with runners in scoring position.
St. Louis managed to advance through two playoff rounds primarily on superior pitching, but the offense vanished completely after the Cards took a 2-1 lead in the Series. They had multiple opportunities to do damage against Boston starter John Lackey over the first five innings but went 0 for 7 with RISP and were done.
The Cardinals finally broke through against Lackey in the seventh inning and threatened to do much more when they loaded the bases with two down. But reliever Junichi Tazawa came on to retire Allen Craig on a bouncer to first and that was it for St. Louis. St. Louis scored only 14 runs in the six games, which won't win a lot of championships.
Lackey became the first pitcher to win a clinching game in the World Series for two teams. Pitching for the then-Anaheim Angels, he took care of the San Francisco Giants in 2002 as a rookie.
"I'll appreciate it a lot more this time," Lackey said. "I was a rookie then and trying to help out and do my best. It was a long time to get back to this point. I'm definitely enjoying it and will appreciate it a lot more."
As he walked off to a thunderous ovation, Lackey doffed his cap to the crowd, completing a hate-love affair. The locals had no use for him after he signed a five-year, $82.5 million free-agent deal before the 2010 season, then proceeded to stink it up before sitting out all of last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
But Lackey remade his image, on and off the field, and won't have to pay for any clam chowder for a while. He'll simply be remembered as the first pitcher since Carl Mays 95 years ago to touch off a World Series celebration at Fenway.
"This team built a connection with the fans and the city and it continued through the season," Farrell said. "We'll all look back at this and the way things unfolded and know this was a special year."
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