BOSTON — Michael Wacha’s postseason was almost immaculate, not the stuff expected of a 21-year-old rookie. If the St. Louis Cardinals could take solace in the win-or-enjoy-the-winter game they faced Wednesday night, it was because they sent the 6-foot-6 right-hander — and his 1.00 postseason ERA — to the mound.
But Wacha’s chance to become an October legend will have to wait. He has made only 14 major league starts, none with the anticipation of Game 6 of the World Series and none with such a clunker of a result. The Boston Red Sox tagged Wacha for six runs in 32 / 3 innings in their 6-1 victory that clinched the championship, the shortest start of Wacha’s short career.
In four previous postseason starts, Wacha — a first-round pick out of Texas A&M in the 2012 draft — had allowed just three runs, and opponents had hit just .122 against him. But the Red Sox got to him for five hits — including two doubles and a home run — and he walked four batters, including David Ortiz twice intentionally.
The six runs Wacha allowed matched his career high, which came in his second major league appearance, an outing against Arizona on June 4 in which he lasted 42 / 3 innings.
Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny said his team handled what could be considered a major inconvenience — mechanical issues delayed their charter flight Tuesday from St. Louis, and the entire club spent seven hours on the plane — extraordinarily well.
“You put a normal group of people on a plane and leave them on the tarmac that long, you’re going to hear barking and complaining,” Matheny said. “. . . We didn’t have one incident of it.”
The Cardinals, who were due to leave St. Louis around 1:30 p.m., finally arrived in Boston at 11 p.m. Many players brought their families, which meant there were newborns and toddlers on board.
“There wasn’t really much else we could do except sit there, hang out with each other, try to play babysitter with all the little kids running around,” right-hander Joe Kelly said. . . .
Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino, who missed Game 4 with back stiffness and then sat out Game 5 — though he was available — was back in the starting lineup.
“Progressively have gotten better every day,” Victorino said. Farrell, though, did not put him in his customary second spot in the lineup — where Victorino hit 107 times this season. “Wanted to keep the top three guys in order,” Farrell said, referring to Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz.
Victorino, of course, provided the game’s biggest hit with a three-run double in the third inning and finished with four RBI. . . .
With both Matt Adams and Allen Craig in the lineup because the designated hitter is used in the AL park, Matheny moved right fielder Carlos Beltran back into the second spot in the order and hit Craig cleanup, where Beltran hit in Games 4 and 5. Center fielder Jon Jay, who was benched in Game 5 in favor of Shane Robinson, returned to the lineup, hitting eighth. . . .
Carlton Fisk and Luis Tiant, two stars of the 1975 Red Sox team that was the last to have a chance to win a World Series at Fenway Park, threw out the ceremonial first pitches. Fisk, of course, waved his 12th-inning shot to left in Game 6 fair — as it clanked off the foul pole.
“I’ve tried to wave them back in play on the golf course, and it doesn’t work,” Fisk said.
More on the World Series:
Box score: Red Sox 6, Cardinals 1