Max Scherzer walked off the mound triumphantly at the end of the seventh inning, having racked up 13 strikeouts and holding a commanding 5-1 Tigers lead. With Boston's lineup mostly dormant during the series, it seemed as though Detroit would cruise to an easy victory and a 2-0 series lead. But this is baseball; crazy can always happen. And crazy unfolded in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland used a combination of Jose Veras, Drew Smyly, and Al Alburquerque to record the first two outs of the inning, but the trio also loaded the bases. With David Ortiz due up, Leyland summoned Joaquin Benoit from the pen to take out the tough lefty.
Benoit allowed the only Sox hit in Game One, foreshadowing what was to happen in Game Two. It only took one swing—nay, one pitch, a hanging changeup—and Ortiz blasted a game-tying grand slam, only the second in postseason history.
When the Tigers went down quickly in the ninth inning, the Fenway faithful cranked up the volume as the home nine came to bat.
Rick Porcello was handed the ball for the start of the ninth inning, and he immediately gave up a single to Jonny Gomes. Jose Iglesias, the former Sox and current sure-handed Tigers shortstop, threw the ball into the stands, allowing Gomes to trot to second base. Porcello came set against Jarrod Saltalamacchia and uncorked a wild pitch, so Gomes scampered to third base. With the winning run just 90 feet away, Saltalamacchia scalded a single to left field, sealing an improbably 6-5 victory for the Red Sox.
Early on, it seemed that the game was destined to be yet another Championship Series pitching duel, with Clay Buchholz opposing 21-game-winner Max Scherzer. Buchholz moved quickly through Detroit's lineup in the first inning, but a Victor Martinez double and an Alex Avila single combined to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead in the second. After the second, though, Buchholz seemed to right the ship and dominated Detroit's lineup for the next three innings.
From first pitch, Scherzer looked masterful, carving through the Red Sox' lineup and racking up nine strikeouts through five innings of work while not allowing a hit. The only hard-hit ball he gave up was a long fly out to right from Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
The Tigers finally broke through Buchholz in the sixth inning. Miguel Cabrera got the party started with a home run over the Green Monster. Prince Fielder followed up with a double off of the Monster, and came around to score on Victor Martinez's double.
Alex Avila, who had been hit by a pitch earlier in the contest, added the big blow of the inning, a two-run homer over the bullpens that put the Tigers up 5-0 and giving the team a lead that, early on, seemed insurmountable.
Scherzer found his first spot of trouble in the bottom of the sixth inning. After registering his tenth strikeout of the night, he allowed his first hit of the night to Shane Victorino, and his first run off a Dustin Pedroia double. Victorino and Pedroia's hits accounted for only the second and third hits for Boston during the ALCS, and what was, at the time, the team's lone run of the series.