The Boston Red Sox completed a rousing run from a last-place finish to top of the baseball universe by routing the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 on Wednesday to win the World Series.
The emphatic victory gave the Red Sox a 4-2 triumph in the best-of-seven Fall Classic for their third Major League Baseball championship in 10 seasons, starting the surge when they ended an 86-year title drought with their 2004 sweep of the Cardinals.
Shane Victorino, back in the lineup after missing two games with a stiff back, led the way with a three-run double in the third and a bases-loaded single in the fourth for four runs batted in.
Closer Koji Uehara retired Matt Carpenter for the final out, setting off wild celebrations on the field and in the stands for the first World Series clinched in front of the home fans at Fenway Park since their 1918 championship.
It was an emotional climax for a team that had finished last in the American League East in 2012 with a 69-93 record, and had vowed to "B strong" in solidarity with a city shaken by deadly bomb attacks at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April.
The Red Sox became the only team other than the 1991 Minnesota Twins to go from last place in one season to World Series champions the next year.
While Victorino and the Red Sox did their damage against the Cardinals' 22-year-old rookie sensation Michael Wacha, Boston starter John Lackey held St. Louis in check.
The big righthander went 6-2/3 innings, giving up one run and scattering nine hits as the Cardinals failed to capitalize on opportunities, stranding nine runners on base.
Lackey became the first starting pitcher ever to win two World Series-clinching games for two different teams, following his Game Seven win as a 24-year-old rookie for the Angels in 2002 over the Giants.
After two scoreless frames, the Red Sox shocked Wacha, who had gone 4-0 during the postseason with a wondrous 1.00 earned run average.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the third with a single and moved to second on a ground out. After red-hot David Ortiz was walked intentionally, he walked four times in the game, Jonny Gomes was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
That brought up Victorino, who entered the game hitting 0-for-10 in the World Series and 3-for-34 in the postseason but found himself in his favorite situation.
The "Flyin' Hawaiian," whose grand slam home run in Game Six of the AL League Championship series against Detroit sent the Red Sox to the World Series, belted a Wacha pitch high off the Green Monster in left to clear the bases for a 3-0 lead.
Boston scored three more runs in the fourth.
Stephen Drew, who had been 4-for-51 in the postseason, led off with a home run, and after a run-scoring single by Mike Napoli, Victorino came up with the bases loaded again and delivered an RBI-single.
Victorino improved his remarkable career postseason record when batting with the bases loaded to 6-for-8 with 20 RBIs, including two grand slams.
The Cardinals got on the scoreboard in the seventh on an RBI single by Carlos Beltran but left the bases loaded, after stranding two baserunners in each of three earlier innings.
Uehara struck out Carpenter to end it and formally start the Fenway party.
(By Larry Fine)