Boston (AFP) – David Ortiz clubbed a grand slam in the eighth and Jarrod Saltalamacchia belted the game-winning run in the ninth as Boston rallied to stun Detroit 6-5 in game two of the ALCS.
Ortiz’s two-out, game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday brought the Red Sox to life after the Tigers had seized a seemingly comfortable 5-1 lead.
“We never give up,” Ortiz said. “You saw that through the whole season. We found a way to get back and win the ball game.”
Saltalamacchia’s walkoff single in front of a crowd of 38,029 at Fenway Park clinched the victory for the Red Sox, who evened the series at one game apiece.
“I have seen some crazy things in this ballpark,” said Boston’s Dustin Pedroia. “That was a burst of emotion. He (Ortiz) just put a great swing on it.
“They pitched us tough. We were just trying to pass it to the next guy and get a hit. Luckily it was David.”
The American League series now shifts to Detroit for game three on Tuesday. The winner of this series will face either the Los Angeles Dodgers or the St. Louis Cardinals for the Major League Baseball championship.
Saltalamacchia belted an opposite-field single past a drawn-in Tigers’ infield to score the deciding run.
Boston starting pitcher Clay Buchholz struck out six, but also allowed five runs on eight hits in just over five innings of work.
Detroit starting pitcher Max Scherzer took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before surrendering a two-out single to Shane Victorino of the Red Sox.
Boston had just one hit in a 1-0 loss in game one and they appeared to headed to the same fate on Sunday.
“We came back and won this ball game. We stole it,” said second baseman Pedroia.
Scherzer fanned 13 batters and allowed just two hits in seven innings.
But designated hitter Ortiz greeted Detroit’s closing pitcher Joaquin Benoit with a grand slam on the first pitch thrown to him to tie the game 5-5.
A hard-charging Detroit right fielder Torii Hunter tried to make a catch on Ortiz’s line-drive, but Hunter went cartwheeling over the outfield wall as both he and the ball landed in the Boston bullpen. The Red Sox players huddled around an injured Hunter and called for a trainer but the outfielder eventually got up and returned to the contest.
“I put a good swing on it. I got Torii chasing everything out there. You never know if he is going to catch that ball,” Ortiz said.
That helped set the stage for Saltalamacchia’s heroics in the ninth. Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello unleashed a wild pitch to put Jonny Gomes on third base. Gomes had reached base earlier on an infield single.
Saltalamacchia than slapped a sharp grounder past a drawn-in Jose Iglesias at shortstop to send the Red Sox to victory.
Boston and Detroit have been playing one another since 1901, but this marks the first time they have met in the MLB’s semi-finals.
The Tigers were 4-3 against the Red Sox in the regular season, winning three of four at Comerica Park in June and dropping two of three at Fenway Park in September.