ALCS Game 6: Red Sox Defeat Tigers, Advance to World Series
In Game 6 of the ALCS on Saturday night at Fenway Park in Boston, the Red Sox defeated the Detroit Tigers 5-2 to advance to the World Series for the third time in nine years. The home team—not to mention their fans—were jubilant celebrating a win that looked extremely unlikely just six days ago.
In Game 2 the Red Sox were were down 5-1 with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning and just eight outs away from going down 0-2 to the Tigers with the series heading back to Detroit. A comeback under those circumstances would’ve been extremely unlikely, at best.
Just as hope seemed lost, David Ortiz stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning. Big Papi did what only he could do, hitting a grand slam off Detroit closer Joaquin Benoit, tying the game and providing a much needed spark to the home crowd, which had long gone silent.
It was in that moment the Red Sox completely reversed the momentum in the series. Not only was it a foregone conclusion they’d win the game—you could see defeat instantly on the Tigers’ faces—but it felt like that rare singular event powerful enough to reverberate for days.
The Tigers returned to Comerica Park for next three games with the series tied 1-1, which was the second best scenario for them, although it certainly didn’t feel like it. Especially when Detroit had tremendous starting pitching again in Game 3 and still lost.
They split the next two games, giving the Red Sox one chance to clinch it at home in Game 6 before having to face Tigers ace Justin Verlander in a decisive Game 7. And that’s exactly what they did.
The game was scoreless until Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury finally singled to right in the bottom of the fifth, allowing rookie Xander Bogaerts to score. Detroit struck back immediately in the top of the sixth, with Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera scoring on a Victor Martinez single to deep left center.
Their lead wouldn’t hold.
Just as Ortiz had done in Game 2—except an inning earlier—Shane Victorino homered off reliever Jose Veras, a grand slam which put the Red Sox up 5-2 in the bottom of the seventh.
Also like Game 2, it was apparent looking at the Tigers that the game, and the series, was over.
Next up for the Red Sox are the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, a team they swept in 2004 after orchestrating the single greatest comeback in sports history against their hated rival New York Yankees in the ALCS.
Boston quickly went down 0-3 in the series against New York, a deficit which no other team in MLB history had ever overcome. The Red Sox were the first, clawing back through three consecutive games before stunning the Yanks 10-3 in Game 7.
Now the Red Sox have an opportunity to repeat history and the Cardinals have an opportunity to avenge it.
You can count on one thing either way—it certainly won’t be boring.