Fenway cheered each walk from David Ortiz, the lone tie to the burst-the-curse crew from 2004, who didn’t have a hit Wednesday but didn’t need one to earn Series MVP honors, so dominant a force was he. Fenway cheered Shane Victorino, one of the shaggy, low-profile grinders who came here to turn around a franchise that had skidded to 69 wins a year ago, because Victorino hit the three-run double that got the Red Sox going and drove in another to boot.
And get this. Fenway cheered right-hander John Lackey — not just cheered but chanted his name — more loudly than any of them.
“I don’t know how you explain it,” Lackey said. “An atmosphere, a vibe that was pretty special.”
Lackey, at one point, was a symbol of this franchise’s bloat after it won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, an $82.5 million sack of wasted space. Yet here he was, yelling at Manager John Farrell when he came out to get him in the seventh. The crowd loved it.
“This is my guy,” Lackey barked, and though he walked Matt Holliday to load the bases — his only walk of the night — the symbol of this franchise’s peace with all of New England followed. Three championships in a decade will do that.
Lackey walked to the dugout, and three strides from the top step, he did something he hadn’t in his 93 previous starts with the Red Sox: tip his hat to the home crowd. The fans roared, and when reliever Junichi Tazawa induced a groundball to end the inning, Lackey had not just a final line of 62
3 innings and one run but something more important: a place alongside Derek Lowe and Jon Lester as the only pitchers to clinch a Boston championship since that afternoon in 1918, when Carl Mays three-hit the Cubs.
“When you think about the ovation that he got coming off the mound, I think people have seen the turnaround in him,” Farrell said. “They’ve seen the turnaround in us. . . . Very fitting.”
Tazawa’s work eased 38,447 minds, on edge for a moment. But no one had an impact on the entire series that matched that of Ortiz. Forget that he went 0 for 1 in the clincher. He scored twice and walked four times because St. Louis had no earthly idea what to do with him. For the series, he reached base in 19 of 24 plate appearances, a staggering on-base percentage of .792.