AP Baseball Writer
BOSTON (AP) -- Shane Victorino lined a three-run double off rookie Michael Wacha and the Boston Red Sox tried to close in on the World Series championship, leading the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 through three innings Wednesday night in Game 6.
Fenway Park was rollicking, with fans standing from the very first pitch. They knew what was at stake -- Boston was hoping to celebrate a championship on its own field for the first time since 1918.
John Lackey pitched shutout ball early and, with Boston holding a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series, Victorino sent the crowd into a frenzy with his two-out drive off the top of the Green Monster.
Victorino had missed two games because of back stiffness and was 0 for 10 in the Series before his drive. He thumped his chest three times after pulling into third while Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina argued with plate umpire Jim Joyce, claiming he had tagged Jonny Gomes.
It was a familiar celebration for Victorino. His grand slam at Fenway clinched the AL championship series in Game 6 against Detroit.
Lackey worked around three singles. Wacha, 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in four starts this postseason, ran into trouble with the crowd chanting his name.
An intentional walk to big-hitting David Ortiz with one out helped set up Victorino's hit. Molina went to the mound to visit the 22-year-old Wacha when he fell behind Victorino, and the key hit came moments later.
Before that, Dustin Pedroia came the closest to putting a run on the hand-operated scoreboard on the Green Monster. He launched a long, high drive in the first to left field that hooked foul before reaching the pole.
Pedroia gave a quick wave halfway down the line, trying to coax the ball to stay fair, but it curved. Still, he reminded fans here of one of the most cherish moments ever at the century-old ballpark -- Carlton Fisk waving a home run fair in the 12th inning that lifted Boston over Cincinnati in Game 6 of the 1975 Series.
Leaving no trick to chance, the Red Sox had Fisk throw out one of the first balls before this Game 6.
Wacha won Game 2, dented only by Ortiz's two-run homer. Ortiz has done damage to the entire St. Louis pitching staff, going 11 for 15 in the first five games.
All around the ballpark and beyond, it was clear Boston was on the brink of something special.
With the Prudential tower lit up with "Go Sox," fans filed past increased a beefed-up security presence. Vendors outside the gates urged Red Sox rooters to buy extra programs because they could someday be valuable souvenirs. Signs on the videoboard advised of late-night changes to the public transportation system.
The ballpark organist tried to set a lucky tone, playing "This Magic Moment" and "Daydream Believer" and "I'm Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover" during batting practice. Local band The Dropkick Murphys performed the national anthem, right after Red Sox greats Luis Tiant and Fisk threw out ceremonial first pitches.
Fisk, still worshipped at Fenway for that winning home run in '75, got right into the spirit that has taken over these Red Sox -- before his toss, the Hall of Famer put on a playful beard.
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