BOSTON — A celebration of beer and fried chicken was in order Saturday night at Fenway Park when the Boston Red Sox pulled off another late-inning comeback in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.
Shane Victorino’s seventh-inning grand slam against Jose Veras erased a one-run deficit and led the Red Sox to a 5-2 victory over Detroit, launching Boston into its third World Series since 2004.
“When you get attacked on your home turf like that, it’s a feeling of pride here,” catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said, referring to the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon. “Everything that ‘Boston Strong’ says represents exactly what this city is about.”
After two drives that fell inches short of clearing the wall, , by Dustin Pedroia in the third inning and Jonny Gomes in the seventh, Victorino launched an 0-and-2 pitch from Veras into the Green Monster seats in left field, turning the ballpark upside-down.
The Red Sox will meet the St. Louis Cardinals in a World Series for the fourth time, and the first since ending their 86-year championship drought in 2004.
Game 6 of the ALCS was a virtual rerun of Game 2, when Max Scherzer shut down the Red Sox for seven innings before David Ortiz’s score-tying eighth inning grand slam against Joaquin Benoit ignited a 5-4 victory.
Scherzer again dominated until the seventh inning, but left with a 2-1 lead and two on and one out, throwing 110 pitches.
An error by shortstop Jose Iglesias loaded the bases, and Victorino, batting .087 in the series, came through with his second career postseason grand slam, tying Jim Thome’s record.
Victorino pounded his chest rounding the bases.
“I don’t like it when teams show that kind of emotion,” he said. “But it was a special moment for me and for the city. ... This was a battle to the end.”
The error changed the inning. Detroit Manager Jim Leyland said Iglesias usually would’ve turned a double play.
“But that’s part of the game,” he said. “I have no problem with that. Probably could have turned that, even though [Jacoby] Ellsbury runs good.”
Scherzer, who held the Red Sox hitless for 52/3 innings in Game 2, picked up right where he left off, taking a shutout into the fifth inning. But rookie Xander Bogaerts doubled off the Green Monster in left-center field and Ellsbury singled to right field on the first pitch to drive in the first run.
Boston Manager John Farrell removed Clay Buchholz with one out in the sixth inning after a leadoff walk to Torii Hunter and a single by Miguel Cabrera, though Buchholz had thrown only 85 pitches. Franklin Morales promptly walked Prince Fielder on four pitches to load the bases and gave up a two-run single off the wall to Victor Martinez, handing the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
Boston escaped further damage when Brandon Workman induced a wild double play in which Pedroia tagged out Martinez on his way to second base and threw to the plate. Fielder appeared frozen between third base and home, and Saltalamacchia ran him down and tagged him out, tumbling over Fielder.