Four Real? Red Sox skin Tigers in ALCS Game 2 10-13-13

David Ortiz ripped a grand slam off reliever Joaquin Benoit in the eighth
inning at Fenway Park on Sunday night, setting the stage for a 6-5 Red
Sox walk-off win over Detroit in Game Two of the ALCS (MLB images)

Jan-Christian Sorensen Contributing Writer

Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a series.

David Ortiz deemed it so Sunday night with one swing of the bat in the eighth, tying up the game — and the series — in dramatic, grand-slam fashion and setting the stage for a walkoff win as the Red Sox downed the Detroit Tigers 6-5 in Game Two of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park.

The game started off looking a lot like Saturday night’s 1-0 loss to the Tigers — a game in which the Red Sox were no-hit until the ninth and went down via the strikeout 17 times.

On Sunday, the Sox struck out nine times and didn’t record a hit until the sixth inning, when Shane Victorino singled with one out off Max Scherzer, who went on to notch 13 Ks on the night for a career postseason high.

David Ortiz had the big night at the plate for Boston, going 1 for 3 with a walk and four RBI courtesy of the grand slam, while Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove in the game-winning run in the ninth and Red Sox Iron Man Dustin Pedroia went 2 for 4 with another RBI to boost his postseason average to .333.

One-time Red Sock Victor Martinez made a dent at the dish for Detroit, going 2 for 3 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Alex Avila (3 RBI) and Miguel Cabrera (1 RBI) both ripped homers in the sixth as the Tigers stormed out to a 5-0 lead.

Sox starter Clay Buchholz made it 5.2 innings but didn’t help his cause in giving up five runs on eight hits while striking out six. Thankfully, the Sox bullpen came to his rescue in the form of Brandon Workman (1 IP, 0 H), Felix Doubront (1.1 IP, 0 H) and Koji Uehara, who went 1-2-3 in the ninth to earn the win.

For his part, Scherzer had a career game — going seven strong with 13 K while only allowing two walks and one run on two hits — but the relief corps couldn’t shut the door. Jose Veras, Drew Smyly and Al Alburquerque were all charged with one run each, while Joaquin Benoit blew the save in giving up one run and Rick Porcello took the loss and gave up the winning run on two hits without recording an out to end the game.

The hero of the night, and of myriad postseason Red Sox wins, David Ortiz, said it best after the game, when he told Ken Rosenthal: “We fight. We never give up. You’ve seen it throughout the whole season.”

Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:

1. Viva Avila!: In the sixth inning and Detroit holding on to a 3-0 lead, Alex Avila ripped the first pitch he saw off Clay Buchholz for a two-run homer to right field, giving the Tigers a 5-0 lead with only three innings to play.

2. Dustin’ The Monster: In the home half of the sixth and Shane Victorino on first with two out, Dustin Pedroia scorched a double off the Green Monster to score Victorino, cut the Red Sox deficit to four runs and shave the Tigers’ lead to 5-1.

3. Large And In Charge: Big Papi made it a brand new game in the eighth when, with the bases loaded, he ripped a Joaquin Benoit changeup into the Red Sox bullpen to tie up the game 5-5. It was the first game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning or later in postseason history and Ortiz’s third homer in the 2013 playoffs.

4. Salty, And Sweet: In true kettle-corn fashion, Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled home Jonny Gomes in the bottom of the ninth with none out to cap a Boston win in walk-off fashion, giving the Red Sox a 6-5, last-gasp win over the Tigers.

Both teams will now travel to Detroit on Monday in advance of Tuesday’s ALCS Game Three, in which John Lackey (1-0, 6.75 in the ALDS in 5.1 IP with 7 H, 4 ER, 6 K) will take the mound against Justin Verlander, who is 1-0 with a 0.00 in 15 innings (6 H, 21 K) in two division-series games in 2013. 

Twitter: @jan_doh