Four Real? Sox Slay Tigers, Book World Series Berth 10-19-13

Koji Uehara was named the ALCS MVP as the Red Sox
beat Detroit 5-2 in Game 6 Saturday night at Fenway Park

Jan-Christian Sorensen
Contributing Writer

From the banks of the River Charles to the North End trattorias and from Southie to Brookline and all T-stops inbetween, let the rally cry ring out: YOUR 2013 BOSTON RED SOX ARE HEADED TO THE WORLD SERIES!

Yes. That was an ALL-CAPS moment if there ever was one, folks.

The Red Sox out-slugged the Detroit Tigers 5-2 in Game Six of the 2013 American League Championship Series Saturday night at Fenway Park to win the series 4-2, claim their 13th American League crown and punch a ticket to their first world series since 2007.

Sox starter Clay Buchholz went five innings and was charged with two runs on four hits after Franklin Morales came out of the bullpen to give up a walk and a two-run single to Victor Martinez that gave the Tigers the lead, but Brandon Workman, Junichi Tazawa (W, 1-0) and Craig Breslow (H, 3) provided a strong, scoreless bridge to closer Koji Uehara, who entered in the ninth and struck out two of the final three batters to notch his third save of the ALCS — and the well-deserved series MVP trophy to boot.

In earning the MVP nod, Uehara becomes the first reliever to win an LCS MVP trophy since Mariano Rivera won with the Yankees in 2003. Former Red Sock Dennis Eckersley previously won the award with the Athletics in 1988.

Detroit starter Max Scherzer went six and a third and was charged with the loss after giving up three runs on four hits, walking five and striking out eight, while Jose Veras got stuck with a blown save, allowing a grand-slam homer to Shane Victorino in the seventh that proved to be the knockout blow Boston had been looking for.

Victorino was the obvious hero of the night, going 1 for 3 with 4 RBI courtesy of the bases-clearing blast, while Jacoby Ellsbury also went 1 for 3 with an RBI and Xander Bogaerts recorded a 1-for-2 night with a pair of walks to raise his playoff average to .500 despite Detroit out-hitting Boston 8-5 in the game.

When Victorino hit the slam, Boston became the first team to hit two grand slams off the opposing team's bullpen in MLB postseason play. The first granny came in Game Two, when David Ortiz tied up the game with a bases-clearing jack off Joaquin Benoit in the eighth.

The Red Sox came into this game with history on their side — Boston was 5-0 all-time in ALCS Game Fives prior to first pitch.

Make that 6-0.

In 2012, the Boston Red Sox finished the season in dead last in the American League East.

One year later, they’re American League champions and headed back to the World Series for the 13th time in team history for a rematch of the 1946, '67 and 2004 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, who secured their berth in the Fall Classic with a 9-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday night.

In 1946 and '67 the Cards edged the Sox 4-3. In 2004 the Red Sox handed the Birds a 4-0 sweep.

May the best team win.

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

1) X Marks the One-Spot: After Xander Bogaerts doubled to center in the fifth, Jacoby Ellsbury drove him in with a single to right to give the Red Sox a 1-0 advantage.

2) Victor Scale: In the sixth with the bases loaded and none out, former Red Sock Victor Martinez gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead when he singled to left to drive in Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera and put Prince Fielder at third base.

3) Belly Buster: One batter later, Jhonny Peralta grounded into a double play that saw Dustin Pedroia tag out Victor Martinez between first and second for one out and then alertly throw home to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The Sox catcher chased down Prince Fielder, who belly-flopped a few feet short of the bag while trying to scramble back to third for the second out of the inning.

4) To the Victorino Belong the Spoils: After going 2 for 23 in his prior at-bats in the ALCS, Shane Victorino erased any and all criticism with one swing of the bat in the seventh, blasting a Jose Veras curveball into the Green Monster seats to give the Red Sox a 5-2 lead they would carry all the way to the win.

Boston will now begin the pursuit of its third World Series title in 10 years on Wednesday when the Red Sox host the St. Louis Cardinals in Game One of the 2013 Fall Classic at Fenway Park. Pitchers are TBD, while first pitch is set for 7:30 p.m. EST.

Twitter: @jan_doh