Red Sox headed to World Series after beating Tigers in Game 6
BOSTON — This year’s Red Sox team is one for iconic moments and Saturday night was no different.
Trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning in Game 6 of the ALCS, having squandered numerous chances early in the game, Shane Victorino stepped to the plate for the Red Sox. The Boston outfielder was 2-for-23 in the series, but that didn’t matter as he belted an Al Alburquerque, 0-2, offering into the Monster seats for a grand slam, sending the 38,823 fans into delirium as the Red Sox took a 5-2 lead and held on for the win and their third American League Championship in 10 years.
“He’s come up big a number of times this season, tonight no bigger and there’s been a lot of pushback on a couple of guys in our lineup that have had some struggles, both he and Stephen Drew,” manager John Farrell said. “In the seventh inning, Stephen makes a great play that shuts down an inning, and (Victorino), probably the last thing we’re thinking of that he’s going to hit a ball out of the ballpark and thankfully the curveball stayed.”
The grand slam might have not have happened if Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias had not committed an error on a grounder up the middle in that at-bat before Victorino, which had the potential for a double play even with the speedy Jacoby Ellsbury running up the line. Jonny Gomes started the inning with a double, then Drew struck out. Xander Bogaerts followed which a walk setting up Ellsbury’s grounder and then Victorino’s heroics.
“I think we could have,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said about possibly turning the double play. “But, that’s part of the game. I have no problem with that. Probably could have tuned that, even though Ellsbury runs good. I think we doubled him once in the series. But, once again, collectively we didn’t do enough.”
Tigers starter Max Scherzer gave it everything he had, getting out of numerous jams earlier in the game, but he was removed after walking Bogaerts, setting up first and second with one out in the seventh and throwing 110 pitches.
After the Red Sox scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers quickly responded in the top of the sixth. Lead-off hitter Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera each singled to lead off the inning and then Red Sox manager John Farrell removed starter Clay Buchholz in favor of lefty Franklin Morales. Morales didn’t have it, walking Prince Fielder on four pitches and then allowing a long single off the Monster to Victor Martinez scoring two runs, giving Detroit a 2-1 lead.
Brandon Workman replaced Morales, still with no outs in the inning, and got a double play grounder from Jhonny Peralta, which was aided by poor base running from Fielder getting hung up between third base and home. He then struck out Alex Avila to end the inning. Workman then got the first two outs of the seventh inning before Junichi Tazawa came in and got Cabrera to ground out ending the threat.
Craig Breslow worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning, before closer Koji Uehara came on for the ninth and his fifth save of the postseason. Uehara earned MVP honors for the series.
“All I can say that I’m extremely, extremely happy right now,” Uehara said.
Buchholz went five innings allowing two runs on four hits while striking out four, but as has been the case the entire postseason Farrell was quick with the hook and letting the bullpen take over.
The Red Sox scored the first run of the game in the fifth inning as Bogaerts doubled off the Monster on a full count after falling behind in the count 0-2. Ellsbury singled to right on the first pitch to score the rookie and give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead at the time.
Game 1 of the World Series will be played Wednesday night (8:07, FOX) at Fenway Park with the Red Sox holding home field advantage in the 2-3-2 series.
What they’ll be saying: The truly remarkable season for the Red Sox just keeps on going. Of the 13 American League pennants the club has won, Saturday was just the third time they clinched at home (1986 and 2007) … For Victorino his grand slam was his second career postseason grand slam and he joins Jim Thome as the only two players with at least two postseason grand slams. As a team the Red Sox became the first team to hit multiple grand slams in an ALCS and the sixth team overall to hit multiple grand slams in a playoff series … Going into the postseason the bullpen was tagged as an area of concern, but it turned out to be one of the biggest strengths of the team. After Saturday as a group they allowed just one run in the series over 21 innings … The team will now be seeking its eighth World Series title and have won a team-record eight straight World Series games.