Victorino, Red Sox claim World Series

BOSTON – There hasn’t been a party like this in New England for nearly a century.

Turmoil to triumph. Worst to first.

David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox, baseball’s bearded wonders, capped their remarkable turnaround by beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in Game 6 on Wednesday to win their third World Series championship in 10 seasons.

With the celebration underway, Ortiz took a microphone on the field and addressed a city still reeling from the marathon bombings about a mile away in April.

“This is for you, Boston. You guys deserve it,” said Ortiz, the Series MVP. “We’ve been through a lot this year and this is for all of you and all those families who struggled.”

And this time, the Red Sox didn’t have to fly the trophy home. For the first time since Babe Ruth’s team back in 1918, Boston won the title at Fenway Park. The 101-year-old stadium, oldest in the majors, was packed with 38,447 singing, shouting fans anticipating a celebration more than a lifetime in the making.

“Maybe they won’t have to go another 95 years,” said John Farrell, a champion in his first season as Boston’s manager.

St. Anthony High School alumnus Shane Victorino, symbolic of these resilient Red Sox, returned from a stiff back and got Boston rolling with a three-run double off the Green Monster in the third inning on a 93 mph fastball from rookie sensation Michael Wacha. Pumped with emotion, Victorino pounded his chest with both fists three times.

“Our goal from day one was to be the best team we could possibly be,” Victorino was quoted as saying on the Red Sox website. “Then we knew we’d end up here. That was our goal. We worked hard every single day. We’re world champs. Can’t believe it.”

John Lackey became the first pitcher to start and win a Series clincher for two different teams, allowing one run over 6 2/3 innings 11 years after his Game 7 victory as a Los Angeles Angels rookie.

With fans roaring on every pitch and cameras flashing, Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter for the final out. The Japanese pitcher jumped into the arms of catcher David Ross while Red Sox players rushed from the dugout and bullpen as the Boston theme “Dirty Water” played on the public-address system.

Ortiz had himself a Ruthian World Series. He batted .688 (11-for-16) with two homer runs, six RBIs and eight walks – including four in the finale – for a .760 on-base percentage in 25 plate appearances, the second-highest in World Series history.

Even slumping Stephen Drew delivered a big hit in Game 6, sending Wacha’s first pitch of the fourth into the right-center bullpen for a 4-0 lead. By the time the inning was over, RBI singles by Mike Napoli and Victorino had made it 6-0.

“Hey, I missed two games. It’s time to shine,” said Victorino, who was 0-for-10 entering the game.

Wacha entered 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his postseason career but gave up six runs and four walks in 3 2/3 innings.

“I just made too many mistakes,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how hard you’re throwing if you can’t locate it.”