BOSTON — The feel of a coronation was in the chilly air at Fenway Park long before the game started.
It seemed only a formality for the Boston Red Sox to wrap up the World Series in Game 6 on Wednesday night, particularly after winning Games 4 and 5 against the Cardinals in St. Louis to put themselves in position for their first title-clinching victory at home since 1918.
Sure enough, the Red Sox rode Shane Victorino’s three-run double and John Lackey’s 6⅔ effective innings to a 6-1 victory over the Cardinals and their third World Series title in 10 years.
The Red Sox beat the Cardinals in the race to become the first team in this century to win three titles. Boston also won in 2004 and 2007 after going 86 years since their previous championship.
Victorino drove in four runs after sitting out the previous two games with lower back stiffness, then getting dropped to No. 6 in the batting from No. 2 after going 0-for-10 in the first three games of the series.
His bases-loaded double off rookie sensation Michael Wacha proved to be all the Red Sox and Lackey needed. Lackey allowed only one run as he scattered nine hits while walking one and striking out five.
Wacha, the breakout star of the postseason, was 4-0 through four starts, allowing only three runs in 29⅔ in October until Victorino matched that run total with one swing. Wacha wound up being tagged for six runs in 3⅔ innings. He gave up five hits and four walks while striking out five.
Victorino, Jacoby Ellsbury and Stephen Drew had two hits each for the Red Sox. Drew homered after entering the game 4-for-51 in the postseason.
Matt Carpenter went 3-for-5 with the Cardinals, and Allen Craig added two hits. With St. Louis down 6-0, Carlos Beltran singled home the Cardinals’ lone run in the seventh inning.
Koji Uehara pitched a perfect ninth to finish it off for the Red Sox, striking out Carpenter for the last out.
Victorino broke a scoreless tie in the third inning in a big way, whacking a three-run double off the Green Monster in left field with two outs off Wacha.
Ellsbury led off with a single and moved to second on Dustin Pedroia’s groundout. The Cardinals then decided to intentionally walk David Ortiz, who was 11-for-15 with five walks in the series to that point.
Wacha struck out Mike Napoli but kept the inning alive by hitting Jonny Gomes with a pitch. Victorino made the rookie right-hander pay for the mistake.
The Red Sox chased Wacha an inning later when they scored three more runs. Drew, who was 2-for-17 in the series, hit a solo home run to right field, Napoli added an RBI single, and Victorino singled home a run off reliever Lance Lynn.
NOTES: Victorino batted sixth for the first time all season. He batted seventh twice in the regular season. … Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said his players were no worse for the wear after arriving at their hotel just before midnight Tuesday night. The team’s charter flight took off from St. Louis seven hours late because of mechanical problems. … For trivia buffs, the Game 7 matchup on Wednesday night would have been Boston RHP Jake Peavy against St. Louis RHP Joe Kelly.