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Shane Victorino’s back bounces back just in time

10.31.13 at 3:34 am ET
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Shane Victorino celebrates his third-inning double Wednesday night. (AP)

Shane Victorino celebrates his third-inning double Wednesday night. (AP)

Shane Victorino made the most of his extra two days of rest.

The outfielder explained after the Red Sox’ World Series-clinching win Wednesday night that he had told manager John Farrell that his ailing back had improved enough to play in Game 5. But with the dynamic of Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava having helped the team to a Game 4 victory, it was determined the Sox could afford to give Victorino one game off.

It paid off.

Victorino managed perhaps the biggest hit of the game in the Red Sox’ 6-1 win, a bases-loaded double in the third inning that kicked off the scoring.

“Throughout Game 4, I was doing a lot of work, therapy inside. That next morning, or that night, I was starting to feel better when I went to bed and I got up and had every intention of playing,” he said. “But as I said, I understand the magnitude of what happened in Game 4, how we won, and the dramatics.

“The weird thing is, I thought about that when I got to the field, if John was going to keep the same lineup, maybe get another day and get me back, not have it linger. I got to the field, we talked about it, I said, ‘There’s no ego here. Whatever you feel like you want to go with that night, and that’s the lineup that he picked. I told him, ‘I’m ready if you need me tonight.’ Luckily we got a big enough lead that I didn’t have to go in, so it gave me another day of rest.”

Victorino said the back issue had subsided enough to not be a concern for Game 6. He finished the final game of the season going 2-for-3, while not skipping a beat in the field.

“It’s a lot better. It feels good,” he said. “We’ll see where we’re at now that this is all settled down, and we’re going to get some time to look at this thing. But this is what it’s all about – everybody. All year long, this team has been a special team, everybody grinding all year long – guys like [Dustin] Pedroia, [Jacoby] Ellsbury, those guys motivated me. Big Papi [David Ortiz]. I think we all motivated each other. I can go on and on about this whole team. I can name every single guy. And every single guy stepped up all year long. We’re all going to enjoy it as one team.”

Victorino finished the postseason having driven in eight runs in his three plate appearances with the bases loaded, including a grand slam in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. He is now 6-for-8 in bases loaded situations for his postseason career.

“To get these kind of moments, it’s just what it’s all about,” he said. “For me, luckily enough, it worked out. I don’t ever go up there with the mindset that this is what’s going to happen. It just seems to be happening that way. And I’m very fortunate, to be able to come here, come up in that spot again tonight, bases loaded, open the game up a little bit. But we knew it was a tough task. Tip my hat to the Cardinals, they gave us that Series that we thought it was going to be, and it was just nice to be on the winning side.”

And, of course, there was the show of emotion that immediately followed the rocket against St. Louis starter Michael Wacha.

It wasn’t quite the chest-thumbing home run trot of the ALCS, but the arms-in-the-air celebration was notable, just the same.

“You saw the emotions. You saw what I did,” he said. “And again, no disrespect to anybody, the beating of the chest – it’s just excitement. And I mean no disrespect to the Cardinals. The magnitude of the moment. Wacha has pretty much been unhittable. That whole staff right there. Every one of those guys. I got a chance to play with those guys. I knew it was going to be a dogfight. Getting to third base, showing the emotion that I did, that happiness, that joyfulness, the loudness of Fenway on its feet. At that moment, I still knew we had a long way to go because that team was not going to back down. It was nice for us to get a couple more runs and open it up a little bit more. But I was worried until the last out was made.”

And then there were the final moments before clinching the world championship.

“You gotta take that all in,” he said. “As the outs got less and less, got on our side for the better. You just live for that. Whatever moment you feel, magnify that by 10, of standing in the middle of the filed – or magnify it by whatever number you think it is. To stand out there, looking at that, Koji [Uehara] coming in, the confidence you have in him, what he’s done all year long, and just counting outs, pitch by pitch, and saying to yourself, ‘OK, here we go, here’s our chance,’ and finally seeing that last out made. And running in. It felt like I was running forever to get to that pile.”

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