Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Shane Victorino is no stranger to dramatic
postseason home runs.
On Saturday night, the outfielder with the "Flyin' Hawaiian" moniker sent the
Boston Red Sox on their way to the World Series.
Victorino crushed a grand slam over the Green Monster in the bottom of the
seventh inning, lifting the Red Sox to a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers in
Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.
Boston was down a run heading into the seventh with Cy Young front-runner Max
Scherzer (0-1) still on the mound for the Tigers. However, Scherzer gave way
to Detroit's perceived season-long vice, the bullpen, with two men aboard and
one out in the inning.
Jonny Gomes opened the frame with a double that scraped the top of the
towering left-field wall and youngster Xander Bogaerts drew a one-out walk.
Drew Smyly relieved Scherzer and induced Jacoby Ellsbury to hit a possible
double-play grounder. However, ex-Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias couldn't
cleanly field the roller up the middle and his error loaded the bases.
"I think we could have. It was hit pretty hard," Detroit manager Jim Leyland
said when asked about the chances of turning two on the play. "But that's part
of the game. I have no problem with that. Probably could have turned that,
even though Ellsbury runs good."
Leyland then summoned Jose Veras from the bullpen and the right-hander threw
three consecutive curveballs, the last of which Victorino blasted to left
field for his second career postseason grand slam.
"The first thought was get enough air to tie the game. And then I thought this
could get up over the wall," said Victorino, who hit his other grand slam
five years ago off CC Sabathia in Game 2 of the NLDS while playing for the
Philadelphia Phillies. He joined Jim Thome as the only two players in major
league history with multiple grand slams in the playoffs.
The defending AL-champion Tigers went down quietly over the final two innings.
Boston reliever Craig Breslow tossed a 1-2-3 eighth, and Koji Uehara, the
ALCS MVP, finished things off in the ninth by fanning Iglesias for his third
save of the series and fifth of the postseason.
Boston is headed to the Fall Classic for the third time since 2004 and will
face the St. Louis Cardinals beginning Wednesday at Fenway Park. The Red Sox
swept the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series to snap an 86-year title drought.
"We're probably going to take 12 or 24 hours to let this one sink in. But
watching them last night, they've got a fantastic team," Boston manager John
Farrell said about the Cardinals. "And a lot of young power arms that will
walk to that mound. By the time Wednesday rolls around we'll be prepared, but
not right now."
Scherzer matched Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz with zeroes through the first
four innings, but the home team scratched out a two-out run in the fifth.
Bogaerts doubled off the Green Monster to keep the inning alive and Ellsbury
plated him with a solid single to right field.
Buchholz was pulled after the first two batters reached base in the sixth.
Franklin Morales made the situation even more perilous by walking Prince
Fielder on four pitches to load the bases with no outs. Victor Martinez then
ripped a two-run single off the wall in left, but a baserunning blunder by
Fielder cost the Tigers an opportunity at more runs.
Jhonny Peralta greeted Brandon Workman with a two-hopper to Dustin Pedroia,
and the second baseman tagged Martinez out before Fielder was erased in a
rundown between third and home.
Workman came back out for the seventh and had Iglesias' two-out grounder
deflect off his glove for an infield single and then fumbled a Torii
Hunter bunt. Junichi Tazawa (1-0) was brought in to face Miguel Cabrera and
shortstop Stephen Drew made a diving stop on an up-the-middle grounder and
threw out the hobbled slugger to keep the score at 2-1.
The Red Sox won their 13th AL pennant ... Uehara became the first reliever to
be named an LCS MVP since Mariano Rivera in 2003 ... Buchholz allowed four
hits, walked two and struck out four ... Scherzer gave up four hits, walked
five and fanned eight ... The Tigers starting pitchers set a new MLB record
for the most strikeouts in any postseason series with 55 in the six games
against Boston ... Martinez's single in the sixth gave him 17 hits in the
playoffs this year. He tied Carlos Guillen (2006) for the most hits in a
single postseason by a Tigers player.
The Sports Network