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It took 95 years for the Boston Red Sox to celebrate the World Series title clincher at Fenway Park.
The party started early for the Red Sox in Game 6 Wednesday night as they scored three runs in the third inning and three more in the fourth against the St. Louis Cardinals. The party lasted all the way through the 6-1 victory and into the night as Bostonians rejoiced in the streets and throughout the New England area.
It was a party that would have made Babe Ruth proud. Ruth won a pair of games on the mound for the Red Sox and was a defensive replacement when the Red Sox last captured the crown in Boston in 1918. It was the also the last time Game 6 was fruitful for the Red Sox in a World Series.
Through 86 years of suffering through the “Curse of the Bambino”, Boston fans endured defeat in the 1946, 1967, 1975 and 1986 best-of-seven World Series. Win or lose, Game 6 never helped until 2013’s clincher.
- Leading the Cardinals 3-2 in the 1946 World Series, Boston would lose 4-1 in Game 6 and ultimately the World Series with a 4-3 loss in Game 7
- Trailing the Cardinals 3-1 in the 1967 Fall Classic, Boston won Game 5 by a score of 3-1 and then beat the Cardinals 8-4 in Game 6 in Fenway to force the deciding Game 7. Bob Gibson outdueled Jim Lonborg for a 7-2 win in Game 7, giving the Cardinals the title and Gibson the series MVP.
- Boston rallied in Game 6 again in 1975 as catcher Carlton Fisk used an extreme amount of body English to will a home run off the left-field foul pole for a 7-6 Boston win over the Cincinnati Reds in 12 innings. The Red Sox held a 3-0 lead through five innings in Game 7 but ultimately lost the game 4-3 and the series in front of the Fenway faithful.
- Game 6 in 1986 will always be the most painful for Boston fans. Leading the World Series 3-2 with the series back at New York Mets Shea Stadium, Boston grabbed a 5-3 lead in the top of the 10th inning. While the champagne was on ice in the visitors locker room, the Mets rallied behind the infamous error through the legs of first baseman Bill Buckner for the 6-5 win. The Red Sox led 3-0 again through five innings in Game 7 only to lose 8-5 and continue to suffer.
Boston erased those memories in 2004 and 2007 when the Red Sox won with four-game sweeps. Boston has now won three World Series titles in 10 years and has claimed its eighth title in club history.
“This one is special,” Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said in an interview with Fox after the game in front of the masses at Fenway Park. “We got together in spring training and everybody cared about one another so much. The whole ride all year, and the stuff that happened to this city, we wanted to do something special.
“We wanted to make them happy and proud of our team. We made this special.”
Boston slugger David Ortiz was named World Series MVP for the first time and he made a stake for that claim early by homering in Games 1 and 2. While the Cardinals walked Ortiz four times on Game 6, the damage was done to the tune of 11-for-16 hitting with a .688 batting average. Ortiz finished with six RBIs and eight walks, reaching base in nine-straight at-bats.
Ortiz lifted Boston throughout the postseason. His grand slam in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series erased what looked like a Detroit Tigers 2-0 lead in a series heading back to Detroit into a thrilling come-from-behind rally cry that led the Red Sox to the ALCS title in six games.
Ortiz could have produced bigger numbers if he wasn’t robbed of a grand slam in Game 1 by Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran. He settled for just one RBI on the sacrifice fly but would homer later that night.
Boston had a couple worth MVP candidates if not for Ortiz’s dominance at the plate. Jon Lester won both of his starts, finishing with a .59 ERA and striking out 15 batters in 15 1/3 innings. Closer Koji Uehara saved a pair of games while not allowing a run in five innings on the mound.
“This is for you Boston. You guys deserve it,” Ortiz told Fenway Park and the Fox broadcast after being awarded the MVP trophy from MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. “You’ve been through a lot this year and this is for all of the struggle. This is for you.”
Boston took advantage of timely hitting, especially from guys who had struggled throughout the series.
Two games after Jonny Gomes replaced Shane Victorino in the lineup and broke up an 0-for-9 World Series slump with a huge three-run homer to win Game 4, Victorino was back in the lineup from his stiff back that kept him out for two games. Hitless in three World Series games, Victorino came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the third. Victorino – who clinched the ALCS in Game 6 with a grand slam against the Tigers — blasted a 2-1 pitch from rookie standout pitcher Michael Wacha off the Green Monster in left to score three runs on the play.
Boston shortstop Stephen Drew, who had just one hit in the first five games of the series, led off the bottom of the fourth with a home run to Red Sox bullpen in right for the 4-0. Drew, who added a hit later in the game, finished the series with a .158 batting average. Mike Napoli added an RBI single and Victorino singled home Ortiz for a 6-0 lead.
The Fenway Park crowd grew into a frenzy, anticipating the long-awaited party.
“It came down to they got the big hits when they needed it,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told the Fox broadcast after the game. “They say good pitching slows down a good offense and all those other components. It came down to timely hitting. That’s baseball.
“But I couldn’t be more proud of the way we carried that Cardinals logo on our chest.”
Lackey turned in another solid, gritty performance. He scattered nine hits and allowed just one run in 6 2/3 innings of work. He walked one, struck out five and successfully campaigned to Boston manager John Ferrell to allow him to pitch to Matt Holliday with two on and two out in the seventh inning. Lackey eventually walked Holliday to load the bases but Junichi Tazawa came on to get the out for his second hold of the series.
Beside the big trade last year that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Nick Punto and Josh Beckett to the Los Angeles Dodgers to clear up a bogged-down , high-priced salary jam in Boston, the biggest transaction may have been the Red Sox trading infielder Mike Aviles to Toronto for manager John Farrell – the team’s former pitching coach.
Farrell guided the Red Sox from a worst-to-first championship.
“To be able to come to work every day with these guys and the work they put in and share with the greatest fans … ,” Farrell told the Fenway Park crowd on the Fox broadcast. “This is a heck of a night.”
A night Red Sox nation has waited 95 years for.
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