Six months after the Boston Marathon bombings, the Red Sox completed a championship baseball season that drew inspiration from the city’s resilient reaction to the tragedy less than a mile from Fenway Park.
The Red Sox won their third World Series in the last decade with a 6-1 defeat last night of the St. Louis Cardinals, wrapping up the title at home for the first time in 95 years.
It capped a season in which “Boston Strong” became the city’s and the team’s answer to the bombings that killed three people and injured 260 others in the first deadly terrorist attack in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001.
“I think our players have a certain maturity that compelled them to participate in the crisis that was facing this community and to help the healing process,” Red Sox President Larry Lucchino said in a clubhouse interview.
It was the eighth World Series title for the Red Sox, who finished last in the American League East division in 2012. They joined the 1991 Minnesota Twins as the only teams to win the World Series a season after a last-place finish.
“It’s difficult to win, there are 30 teams determined to do what we did this year,” team principal owner John Henry told reporters. “Every season is different. In this case I think it was sheer force of will.”
Shane Victorino had a three-run double for the Red Sox, who also won in 2004 and 2007 after an 86-year title drought, and John Lackey became the first starting pitcher in Major League Baseball history to win a World Series clincher for two different teams.
David Ortiz was selected as the series’ Most Valuable Player after hitting .688. He walked four times last night in Game 6 and ended up reaching base 19 times in 25 plate appearances in the series.
Boston won the best-of-seven series four games to two. The Red Sox, the only team to win the World Series three times so far in the 21st century, had last clinched a title at home in 1918 with a 2-1 win against the Chicago Cubs in Game 6.
Ticket prices for last night’s game averaged $2,056. Secondary market ticket aggregator TiqIQ said that made it the most expensive baseball game in the company’s four-year history.
Victorino’s bases-clearing double in the third inning went off the Green Monster left-field wall at Fenway Park. Boston scored three more runs in the fourth as Stephen Drew hit a solo home run and Mike Napoli and Victorino added run-scoring singles to make it 6-0.
“This was something very special to give back to the people of Boston,” Napoli told reporters.
Carlos Beltran drove in St. Louis’ only run with a seventh-inning single.
Lackey, who scattered nine hits while allowing one run in 6 2/3 innings last night, was a rookie when he won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series for the Anaheim Angels against the San Francisco Giants.
All six Boston runs came off Cardinals starter Michael Wacha, a rookie who had won all four of his previous starts this postseason while allowing three runs in 27 innings.
“I didn’t want to win it for myself,” Wacha told reporters. “I wanted to win it for these guys in this clubhouse who have been working their tail off all year. Whenever I have a poor outing like that, it hurts me even worse.”
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