Man of the moment
BOSTON – Thumping his chest as he rounded the bases.
Pointing skyward when he arrived safely at third.
Tossing his glove in the air as he ran to join his celebrating teammates.
“Well, Shane Victorino has got a little bit of flair for the dramatic,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the right fielder, a St. Anthony High School graduate, twice came through with the bases loaded to help Boston beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 on Wednesday and win the World Series in six games.
“The hits that he did record in the postseason couldn’t have been bigger,” Farrell said, “and couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.”
Hitless in his first 10 World Series at-bats this year before missing two games with a bad back, Victorino hit a three-run double to break a scoreless tie in Game 6 and added an RBI single – again with the bases full – an inning later. Victorino, who also reached the playoffs with the Philadelphia Phillies each year from 2007 to 2011, is 6-for-8 with a major league-record 20 RBIs with the bases loaded during his postseason career.
Asked about his bases-loaded success in an on-field interview with Fox television, Victorino said: “My parents always told me, ‘Take every moment, live every moment, love every moment.’ I just went up there and said, ‘Hey, I get another moment. I missed two games. It’s time to shine and do what you can.’ “
Victorino was part of a bargain-hunting binge – at least compared to Red Sox shopping sprees of the past – that helped remake the team last winter after its worst season in nearly 50 years. Thanks to more than $250 million dumped on the Los Angeles Dodgers in a deal that sent away Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford, Boston added Victorino along with Mike Napoli, David Ross, Jonny Gomes, Koji Uehara and Ryan Dempster.
“We felt like this was a different group of players, completely selfless. A team with that many talented players being as selfless as they are,” general manager Ben Cherington said on the field as the team celebrated around him. “All they cared about was winning and each other. You just want the games to continue so we could be around each other more.”
Victorino earned a Gold Glove in right field while batting .294 with 21 stolen bases in the regular season. He hit .429 against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first round of the playoffs, but was 2-for-24 against the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series before hitting a grand slam to deliver the pennant to Boston.
He fell back into a slump in the Series, then sat out two games because of tightness in his back.
Once again, he broke out of it in timely fashion.
“It was a huge moment,” said Farrell, who dropped Victorino to sixth in the lineup and joked that it worked just as he planned. “Yeah, we scripted it. We knew he’d come up with the bases loaded twice.”
In his 60 career postseason games, Victorino had batted .257 with seven homers and 42 RBIs.
“We knew somebody was going to do it. That’s how we are,” Napoli said. “He missed some games, was banged up, but he came through. He got some big hits for us and we wouldn’t be here without him.”