Red Sox beat Tigers, 5-2, to clinch spot in World Series

Red Sox beat Tigers, 5-2, to clinch spot in World Series

Victorino grand slam gives Red Sox American League pennant

The party raged well into the night at Fenway Park (USA Today photo)
by Matt Pepin, Sports Editor on Oct 20, 2013 at 1:17 AM
Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the field to pop some bubbly.
by Matt Pepin, Sports Editor on Oct 20, 2013 at 1:22 AM
Prince Fielder came up just a bit short on his dive back to third.
by Matt Pepin, Sports Editor on Oct 20, 2013 at 1:21 AM
Scene from the clubhouse celebration.
by Matt Pepin, Sports Editor on Oct 20, 2013 at 1:19 AM
by Matt Pepin, Sports Editor on Oct 20, 2013 at 1:18 AM

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Shane Victorino belted a grand slam to give the Red Sox a 5-2 lead in the 7th inning (USA Today photo)
by Matt Pepin, Sports Editor on Oct 19, 2013 at 11:38 PM
By Steve Silva and Matt Pepin, Staff

A dramatic grand slam on an 0-2 count by Shane Victorino lifted the Red Sox over the Tigers, 5-2, in Game 6 of the ALCS on Saturday and into the World Series.

Victorino's seventh-inning blast off Jose Veras sailed high into the seats atop the Green Monster. It was the second time in the ALCS that the Detroit bullpen blew a lead after a solid start by Max Scherzer. Veras was the Tigers' third pitcher.

"Boston Strong," Victorino shouted to the crowd in a postgame TV interview. "People counted me out, people said last year I was done. No. When I came here there was rejubilation. There was something inside of me that said I wanted to prove something."

It is the Red Sox' 12th appearance in the World Series, and first since 2007. They will face the St. Louis Cardinals beginning Wednesday at Fenway Park.

"We had high expectations. This group of guys, I'm so proud of them, they play the game they way it should be played," Red Sox principal owner John Henry said during the ALCS trophy presentation ceremony.

Closer Koji Uehara finished off the game in the ninth inning. He was  named the MVP of the ALCS.

The victory caps a remarkable turnaround for a franchise that won only 69 games last season and suffered one of the worst late-season collapses ever the season before.

"It's a team through and through. These guys  care for one another, they play for one another, I think the people that have watched us throughout the course of the year will get that feeling from them," manager John Farrell said.

A series of strong defensive plays helped the Red Sox prevent more damage after falling behind, 2-1, in the sixth. Later in the sixth inning, Prince Fielder was caught off third on a grounder to second and comically landed short of the bag as he dove for it, allowing Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to easily tag him out.

In the seventh, Brandon Workman picked off Austin Jackson at first base, and Stephen Drew ended the inning and a Tigers threat – Detroit had runners on first and second – by diving to rob Miguel Cabrera of a hit and throwing him out at first.

"This is our bleeeep city!" designated hitter David Ortiz said on national TV, referencing his famous address to the crowd in the first Red Sox home game in April after the Boston Marathon bombings.

Victorino said he knew the Red Sox had the makings of a championship team in spring training.

"Day 1 spring training. There was something special about this team. You know, guys came in with one mindset. I know the last couple years have been tough here, but you know what, we put that all behind us," he said.

Fenway Park went wild when the Red Sox regained the lead on Saturday in the seventh inning.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Jonny Gomes drilled a double off the wall that nearly went out of the park. After Stephen Drew failed to move Gomes to third after striking out swinging, Xander Bogaerts walked. Jacoby Ellsbury then hit what looked like a double-play ball to Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias who bobbled it for an error and everybody was safe, bases loaded for Victorino who crushed a grand slam off Jose Veras into the Monster seats.

It was Victorino's second career postseason grand slam. It matches Jim Thome for the most career slams in MLB postseason history. Victorino crushed a second-inning grand slam off Brewers lefty CC Sabathia in Game 2 of 2008 NLDS in Philadelphia. That one was the first grand slam in Phillies playoff history.

Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz was sailing along with a five inning shutout but his night ended quickly in the sixth inning when the Tigers took the lead.

"I didn't have the best stuff, but any time you can put a minimum number of runs on the board against a team like that and give your team a chance to win a comeback the way we did, that's all anybody can ask of any starter on this team, and it's a special night," Buchholz said.

Torii Hunter walked to start the inning, then Miguel Cabrera singled to left and in came lefty Franklin Morales in relief to face the struggling Prince Fielder. Morales promptly threw four straight balls to Fielder to load the bases.

Victor Martinez then drove in Hunter and Cabrera on a line drive single to left to give the Tigers the 2-1 lead and Morales was gone without retiring a batter.

Jhonny Peralta then grounded into a double play off Brandon Workman. Dustin Pedroia stepped on second to get Martinez then Fielder was tagged out when he caught in a rundown between third and home on the play and Jarrod Saltalamacchia put the tag on him as he struggled to get back to third base. 

Boston tried to rally back in the bottom of the sixth. Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch for the sixth time in the postseason then Pedroia walked to put runners on first and second with no outs. But David Ortiz flied to left, Napoli struck out swinging on a breaking ball and Salty popped up to Iglesias at short to end it without the tying run crossing the plate.

The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth when Jacoby Ellsbury drilled a Max Scherzer changeup for a single to drive in rookie infielder Xander Bogaerts who crushed a two-out double high off the wall in left-center.

The Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies, 4-0, in the 2007 World Series.

The Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, 1918, 1916, 1915, 1912, and 1903. They lost in 1946, 1967, 1975 and 1986.

Reaction to the Red Sox' victory poured in on social media. Among the best:

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