Shane Victorino blasted a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning, giving the Boston Red Sox a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers in Game Six of the ALCS and punching Boston's ticket to the World Series.
The Red Sox entered the bottom of the seventh trailing the Tigers 2-1. Max Scherzer had pitched six strong innings, but surrendered a Jonny Gomes double to lead off the inning. Xander Bogaerts drew a one-out walk, putting two runners on for Jacoby Ellsbury.
Jim Leyland brought Drew Smyly in to face Ellsbury, who hit a grounder up the middle. The ball was hit hard enough for a potential inning-ending double-play, but Jose Iglesias misplayed the ball, leaving all runners safe. Leyland then pulled Smyly in favor of Jose Veras as Victorino came to the plate. Two strikes later, Victorino smashed a curveball over the Green Monster for the second Red Sox grand slam of the series.
Clay Buchholz started the game for the Red Sox, allowing two runs on four hits over five innings. Detroit scored both their runs in the bottom of the fifth on a Victor Martinez single, who lined a pitch off the Green Monster with the bases loaded:
That gave Detroit a 2-1 lead over Boston with runners on the corners and nobody out. John Farrell brought in Brandon Workman to escape the jam, and the reliever did his job, forcing a Jhonny Peralta groundball to Dustin Pedroia.
Pedroia tagged Martinez out on the basepaths, then fired the ball home, catching Prince Fielder in a run-down. Fielder was tagged out trying to make it back to second base, falling just short of third for the 4-2 double-play.
The Tigers had other run-scoring opportunities later in the game, but Austin Jackson was picked off first base by Workman, and Stephen Drew robbed Miguel Cabrera of a RBI-single with a great diving play up the middle:
Workman worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings, and Junichi Tazawa recorded his final out of the game in the seventh inning, earning the win when Victorino went deep.
Bogaerts had an impressive game in his second postseason start, drawing two walks and hitting a two-out double against Scherzer in the bottom of the fifth. His double led to the Red Sox first run of the game when Jacoby Ellsbury followed the extra-base hit with a single to right field.
The Red Sox will face the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, who earned their bid by taking the NLCS from the Los Angeles Dodgers, four games to two. The Cardinals and the Red Sox have previously met three times in the World Series, with Boston winning the most recent matchup in 2004.