BOSTON -- After sitting out the previous two games with lower back stiffness, right fielder Shane Victorino was back in the Boston Red Sox's lineup Wednesday night for Game 6 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park.
Victorino was healthy enough to play in Game 5 on Monday night, but manager John Farrell had some concern he might not be able to finish the game. Farrell indicated Victorino could have been used off the bench in the Red Sox
S 3-1 victory at St. Louis.
"I feel a lot better, progressively have gotten better every day," Victorino said before Game 6. "As we talked about Game 5, I had every intention of being there. John and I discussed before the game the magnitude of the game, and I totally understood maybe giving me that extra day and keeping the lineup the way it was. So I took it at that, and I feel a lot better physically."
Farrell did drop Victorino down to sixth in the batting order from his normal No. 2 spot. Farrell stayed with second baseman Dustin Pedroia hitting second again after moving him up a spot for Game 5.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny went out of his way Wednesday to praise his team for its comportment Tuesday when the team's charter flight was delayed for nearly seven hours because of mechanical difficulties before taking off from Lambert-St. Louis Airport.
"I can't tell you how impressed I was with how everybody handled it," Matheny said. "We travel a lot, so you kind of anticipate that everything is going to go smooth and it has all season, and you get to this time of year, and things kind of went in a different direction.
"But it was amazing how the guys handled that long of a time, especially as we had lots of family, lots of kids. Impressive, to be honest with you."
The Cardinals did not arrive at their hotel until nearly midnight Tuesday night, but Matheny said his team was rested and ready for Game 6.
Wednesday marked the first time Fenway Park hosted a Game 6 in the World Series since 1975.
That turned out to be one of the most memorable games in baseball history, with Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk hitting the game-winning home run off the left field foul pole in the bottom of the 12th inning to beat the Cincinnati Reds.
Fittingly, the Red Sox asked Fisk to throw a ceremonial first pitch Wednesday. He was also scheduled for the same honor before Game 6 in both 2004 and 2007, but the Red Sox won both those series in four-game sweeps.
Luis Tiant, who won two games for Boston in the 1975 World Series, also was scheduled to throw out a ceremonial first pitch Wednesday.