BOSTON -- There hasn't been a party like this in New England for nearly a century.
Turmoil to triumph. Worst to first.
David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox, baseball's bearded wonders, capped their remarkable turnaround by beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in Game 6 on Wednesday night to win their third World Series championship in 10 seasons.
With the celebration under way, Ortiz took a microphone on the field and addressed a city still reeling from the marathon bombings about a mile away in April.
"This is for you, Boston. You guys deserve it," said Ortiz, the Series MVP. "We've been through a lot this year and this is for all of you and all those families who struggled."
And this time, the Red Sox didn't have to fly the trophy home. For the first time since Babe Ruth's team back in 1918, Boston won the title at Fenway Park. The 101-year-old stadium, oldest in the majors, was packed with 38,447 singing, shouting fans anticipating a celebration more than a lifetime in the making.
"Maybe they won't have to go another 95 years," said John Farrell, a champion in his first season as Boston's manager.
Shane Victorino, symbolic of these resilient Sox, returned from a stiff back and got Boston rolling with a three-run double off the Green Monster in the third inning on a 93 mph fastball from rookie sensation Michael Wacha.
John Lackey became the first pitcher to start and win a Series clincher for two different teams, allowing one run over 62/3 innings 11 years after his Game 7 victory over the Giants as an Angels rookie in 2002.
With fans roaring on every pitch and cameras flashing, Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter for the final out. The Japanese pitcher jumped into the arms of catcher David Ross while Red Sox players rushed from the dugout and bullpen as the Boston theme "Dirty Water" played on the public-address system.
They were Boston Strong -- playing for and trying to comfort a city shaken by the marathon tragedy.
"We've dealt with a lot," Dustin Pedroia said. "But our team came together."
After late-season slumps in 2010 and 2011, the embarrassing revelations of a chicken-and-beer clubhouse culture that contributed to the ouster of manager Terry Francona, and the daily tumult of Bobby Valentine's one-year flop, these Red Sox grew on fans.
Just like the long whiskers on the players' faces, starting with Gomes' scruffy spring training beard.
"As soon as we went to Fort Myers, the movie's already been written," Gomes said. "All we had to do was press play, and this is what happened."
The only player remaining from the 2004 champs, Ortiz had himself a Ruthian World Series. He batted .688 (11 for 16) with two homers, six RBIs and eight walks -- including four in the finale -- for a .760 on-base percentage in 25 plate appearances, the second-highest in Series history.
Even slumping Stephen Drew delivered a big hit in Game 6, sending Wacha's first pitch of the fourth into the right-center bullpen for a 4-0 lead.
The win capped an emotional season for the Red Sox, one heavy with the memory of the events that unfolded on Patriots Day, when three people were killed and more than 260 wounded in bombing attacks at the Boston Marathon.
St. Louis had been seeking its second title in three seasons, but the Cardinals sputtered after arriving in Boston late Tuesday following a seven-hour flight delay caused by mechanical problems.
"They were some frustrated guys in there, but overall you can't ask us to go about any better than how our guys did," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Not too many people expected us to do what we did."