VIDEO PLAYLISTRed Sox Win World SeriesFarrell A Champion In His First SeasonPedroia: 'Special Group Of Guys'Red Sox Redemption
BOSTON -- There hasn't been a party like this in New England for nearly a century.
Turmoil to triumph. Worst to first.
and the , baseball's bearded wonders, capped their remarkable turnaround by beating the 6-1 in Game 6 on Wednesday night to win their third World Series championship in 10 seasons.
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There wasn't much drama in Wednesday night's clincher, but when all was said and done, there was a rightful winner of the World Series title, writes David Schoenfield.
* STATS & INFO:When it was over, 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."
, symbolic of these resilient Sox, returned from a stiff back and got Boston rolling with a three-run double off the Green Monster against rookie sensation .
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 an Angels rookie in 2002.
With fans roaring on every pitch and cameras flashing, struck out for the final out. The Japanese pitcher jumped into the arms of catcher while Red Sox players rushed from the dugout and bullpen as the Boston theme "Dirty Water" played on the public-address system.
"I say I work inside a museum, but this is the loudest the museum's been in a long time," outfielder said.
And 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 ballpark, oldest in the majors, was packed with 38,447 singing, shouting fans anticipating a celebration 95 years in the making.
There wasn't the cowboy-up comeback charm of "The Idiots" from 2004, who swept St. Louis to end an 86-year title drought. There wasn't that cool efficiency of the 2007 team that swept Colorado.
This time, they were Boston Strong -- playing for a city shaken by the marathon bombings in April.
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
David Ortiz lifts Koji Uehara into the air after the closer sealed the Red Sox's third title in the last 10 years.
After late-season slumps in 2010 and 2011, the embarrassing revelations of a chicken-and-beer clubhouse culture that contributed to the ouster of manager Terry Francona, and the daily tumult of Bobby Valentine's one-year flop, these Red Sox grew on fans.
Just like the long whiskers on the players' faces, starting with Gomes' scruffy spring training beard.
"As soon as we went to Fort Myers, the movie's already been written," Gomes said. "All we had to do was press play, and this is what happened."
Ortiz, the only player remaining from the 2004 champs, was the MVP after a Ruthian World Series. He batted .688 (11 for 16) with two homers, six RBIs and eight walks -- including four in the finale -- for a .760 on-base percentage in 25 plate appearances.
Even slumping delivered a big hit in Game 6, sending Wacha's first pitch of the fourth into the right-center bullpen.
By the time the inning was over, RBI singles by and Victorino had made it 6-0, and the Red Sox were on their way.
And now, all over New England, from Connecticut's Housatonic River up to the Aroostook in Maine, Boston's eighth championship can be remembered for the beard-yanking bonding.
The win capped an emotional season for the Red Sox, one heavy with the memory of the events that unfolded on Patriots Day, when three people were killed and more than 260 wounded in bombing attacks at the Boston Marathon. The Red Sox wore "Boston Strong" logos on their left sleeves and erected a large emblem on the Green Monster as a constant reminder.
A "B Strong" logo was mowed into center-field grass at Fenway.
"All those that were affected in the tragedy -- Boston Strong!" Victorino said.
David Ortiz reached base against the Cardinals in 19-of-25 plate appearances, giving him the second-highest OBP in a single World Series. Here's a look:
Ortiz carried a Red Sox offense that finished with the second-lowest batting average by a World Series winner since 1969. Here's a look:
Red, white and blue fireworks fired over the ballpark as Commissioner Bud Selig presented the World Series trophy to Red Sox owners John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino, leaving a smoky haze over the field.
"It was an awesome atmosphere here tonight," Lackey said.
Among the players blamed for the indifferent culture at the end of the Francona years, Lackey took the mound two days shy of the second anniversary of his elbow surgery and got his first Series win since the 2002 clincher. He pitched shutout ball into the seventh, when 's RBI single ended the Cardinals' slump with runners in scoring position at 0 for 14.
came in with the bases loaded and retired on an inning-ending grounder to first. followed in the eighth and Uehara finished.
St. Louis had been seeking its second title in three seasons, but the Cardinals sputtered. Symbolic of the team's struggles, reliever tripped while throwing a pitch to Ortiz in the eighth, balking to second.
Pedroia had brought back memories of Carlton Fisk's 1975 Game 6-winning home run, sending a first-inning drive about 10 feet foul of the Green Monster foul pole -- and waving his left arm once to try to urge the ball fair as he came out of the batter's box.
Lackey escaped a two-on, none-out jam in the second when he retired and on flyouts and, after a wild pitch, struck out .
Boston wasted a similar threat in the bottom half, then went ahead on the third.
singled leading off and went to second on Pedroia's grounder. Ortiz was intentionally walked, Napoli struck out and Gomes was hit above the left elbow with a pitch, loading the bases.
Victorino, wearing red, white and blue spikes with an American flag motif, had been 0 for 10 in the Series and missed the previous two games with a bad back.
Dropped from second to sixth in the batting order, he took two balls and a called strike, then turned on a 93 mph fastball and sent it high off the Green Monster, the 37-foot-high wall in left. Gomes slid home as took 's one-hop throw and applied the tag, then argued with plate umpire Jim Joyce.
Victorino, pumped with emotion, went to third on the throw and pounded his chest with both fists three times.
After Drew's homer, relieved Wacha with two on, and RBI singles by Napoli and Victorino boosted Boston's lead to 6-0. Wacha entered 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his postseason career but gave up six runs, five hits and four walks in 3 2-3 innings, the shortest start of the 22-year-old's big league career.
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Boston was a 30-1 underdog to win the World Series last winter but joined the 1991 as the only teams to win titles one season after finishing in last place. Now, the Red Sox will raise another championship flag before their home opener next season April 4 against Milwaukee.
The Red Sox had not played a Series Game 6 since that infamous night at New York's Shea Stadium in 1986, when Bill Buckner allowed Mookie Wilson's 10th-inning roller to get through his legs. And there had not been one at Fenway since Fisk's 12th-inning home run off the foul pole atop the Green Monster.
Following consecutive late-season skids, the Red Sox parted with Francona at the end of the 2011 season and reports emerged of players drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games.
Valentine took over as manager, injuries caused Boston to use a club-record 56 players, and the Red Sox skidded to a 69-93 record, their poorest since 1965.
John Farrell, Boston's pitching coach from 2007-10, was hired after a pair of seasons as Toronto's manager.
A roster turnover began in August 2012 when , , and their big-money contracts were traded to the in a deal that saved Boston just more than $261.66 million through 2018. The Red Sox restocked during the offseason by signing seven major league free agents for contracts of three years or fewer at a total of $100.45 million: Victorino, Napoli, Gomes, Drew, Uehara, and Ross.
After losing closers and to injuries early in the season, the Red Sox remained relatively healthy: Seventeen players wound up on the DL, down from 27. They finished 97-65 -- matching St. Louis for the best record in the major leagues -- and made the playoffs for the first time since 2009. They also became the first team since the 2005 Cardinals to navigate the season without losing more than three in a row.
After falling behind 2-1 in the Series, the Red Sox ended with three straight wins.
NOTES: Boston also won the Series at Fenway Park in 1912. The Red Sox won the first World Series in 1903 at the Huntington Avenue Grounds and in 1916 at Braves Field.Catfish Hunter and Jimmy Key each won Series clinchers for two clubs, as a starter and reliever.Freese, the 2011 World Series MVP, hit .158 (3 for 19) with no RBIs.
Red Sox close out Cards, clinch title at Fenway
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