The Boston Red Sox shocked the Detroit Tigers 6-5 in Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS.
In a featured article aptly titled “Salt and Papi! Red Sox Storm Back Late, Knot ALCS,” Ian Brown of the Red Sox’s official website described how Boston clawed back from a five-run deficit to tie the ALCS at one game apiece.
The Tigers built the lead on a four-run sixth inning where they pummeled Red Sox starter Clay Buchholtz. Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera drew first blood for the Tigers with a two-run shot over the Green Monster in left field.
Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez then hit consecutive doubles, the latter one scoring Fielder at home plate. Catcher Alex Avila launched a two-run homer of his own to establish a 5-0 lead.
Omar Infante singled to center, ending Buchholtz’s night. Buchholtz pitched 5.2 innings, allowing eight hits and five earned runs. He had six strikeouts.
On the other hand, AL Cy Young Award frontrunner Max Scherzer looked like he would coast in this one. He allowed just two hits in seven innings of work with 13 strikeouts.
But then David “Big Papi” Ortiz and the Red Sox came roaring back.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Will Middlebrooks had a one-hit double, Jacoby Ellsbury drew a walk and Dustin Pedroia singeld to right-center to load the bases.
Detroit reliever Al Alburquerque took over the mound after the Ellsbury walk. He struck out Shane Victorino before allowing the Pedroia single.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland then filelded closer Joaquin Benoit to face Ortiz. With two outs in the inning, Benoit uncorked a first-pitch changeup which Ortiz smacked to right-center field.
Detroit outfielder Torii Hunter tried to give chase but ran out of room, tumbling into the Boson bullpen.
Game 2 was now tied at 5 apiece. Brown described the moment at Fenway Park as “deafening.”
Ortiz, on the other hand, was relieved after it cleared the bullpen wall for a grand slam.
“I knew I put a good swing on it. I got my boy Torii chasing everything out there, nine-time Gold Glove (Award Winner), you never know, he almost caught that ball. But thank God it went in the bullpen.”
He actually set the stage for his teammate, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
With no outs in the bottom of the ninth and with Johnny Gomes at third base, Saltalamacchia laced a walk-off single to left field to secure a stirring comeback win for the Red Sox.
The catcher known as “Salty” said,”Goose bumps, it feels great. This crowd gets behind us so much and it’s so easy for us to just go out there and make things happen.”
And as for Benoit and the Tigers?
“For me, it’s already off. Nothing we can do about it right now. Game is over, we start fresh next time and we’re gonna be home…I like to attack hitters, and it’s not the first time I faced him.
“Today was his day. See him next time.”
Game 3 of the ALCS will be on Oct. 15 at Comerica Park in Detroit. The Tigers’ vaunted starter, Justin Verlander, will take the mound for that one.