ALCS Game 6: Shane Victorino's grand slam lifts Red Sox into World Series

BOSTON — Shane Victorino's grand slam in the seventh inning of Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday night at Fenway Park lifted the Boston Red Sox to a 5-2 victory and the pennant. Here's how it happened, as it happened...— Box score | Play by play | Victorino's grand slam | World Series schedule | Red Sox Fall Classic history PREGAMECatcher Alex Avila, who left Game 5 with a strained patellar tendon in his left knee sustained in a collision with Boston's David Ross, returns to the Detroit lineup, moving back to the No. 6 spot after he batted seventh on Thursday. Omar Infante, the second baseman, drops back down a spot. Jim Leyland sticks with right fielder Torii Hunter as his leadoff man for the third straight game, followed by third baseman Miguel Cabrera, first baseman Prince Fielder, designated hitter Victor Martinez, left fielder Jhonny Peralta, Avila, Infante, center fielder Austin Jackson, and shortstop Jose Iglesias. Peralta played shortstop in Game 2, the last time Max Scherzer started.Ross slides out of the Boston lineup, replaced behind the plate by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. As usual, John Farrell sticks with his dependable top five in the lineup: center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, right fielder Shane Victorino, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, designated hitter David Ortiz, first baseman Mike Napoli. Then it's Saltalamacchia, left fielder Jonny Gomes, shortstop Stephen Drew, and a second straight start for Xander Bogaerts at third base. Clay Buchholz gets the call on the mound. FIRST INNINGHunter gets the game started with a perfectly-placed ground ball, just out of Bogaerts' reach. Drew backs up, but running toward the third base line, he has no chance to make a play on Hunter, and wisely does not attempt a throw. Buchholz works at a pace usually reserved for a continental drift, and over a 17-minute inning, throws all of 22 pitches, with a few throws to first base mixed in. Hunter never advances as Buchholz strikes out Cabrera and Fielder, and gets Martinez on a lazy fly ball to center field.Scherzer takes one minute to strike out Ellsbury looking, and is quick to get Victorino to ground out to shortstop. After Pedroia singles to left field, though, the righthander is deliberate as he pitches around Ortiz — the result is a walk on a full count. Further trouble is averted when Napoli hits a hard smash right to Iglesias, who throws to first to end the 10-minute, 21-pitch frame.SECOND INNINGBuchholz works somewhat faster when the bases are empty, which they are for the beginning of the second inning. Peralta grounds to third and Avila goes down on strikes, but then Infante extends the inning by sending a line drive over the outstreched glove of the leaping Pedroia. Jackson hits a nubber back between the mound and the third base line, which Buchholz easily fields and fires to first to end a second straight inning in which he has to work around a baserunner, but the Tigers do not really threaten.Scherzer has an even easier time working through his second inning, with a strikeout of Saltalamacchia, a strikeout of Gomes, and a strikeout of Drew. The three whiffs bring the total for Tigers starting pitchers in the series to 51, and Detroit's overall total to 65. Both are LCS records.THIRD INNINGIglesias becomes the second Tigers hitter in three innings to lead off with a hit, dumping a single in front of Victorino in right field. Once again, though Buchholz buckles down with the runner on base, and Iglesias never moves into scoring position. Hunter flies to left, Cabrera strikes out for the second time, and Fielder's miserable ALCS continues with a ground ball to first base. He's now 4-for-21.Bogaerts comes to the plate with half as many hits as Fielder in the series — in five at-bats. He works out a leadoff walk on a close pitch just off the outside corner. It's not at all what Scherzer needs with the top of the order coming up. Another full count with Ellsbury leads to a second consecutive walk, and a visit from pitching coach Jeff Jones. Victorino does Detroit a favor by conceding an out with a bunt, which he compounds by popping it up — Scherzer races in from the mound and makes a sliding catch. On the very next pitch, Pedroia hammers a ball down the left field line that gets everyone at Fenway Park on their feet as it sails onto Lansdowne Street — the only problem is that it crosses the foul pole on the wrong side, which is confirmed by video review. Pedroia winds up hitting another ball in the same direction, but it's on the ground, and fielded by Cabrera, who steps on third base and throws to first for an inning-ending and stadium-silencing double play.FOURTH INNINGThe Red Sox put on a clinic of defensive positioning and advance scouting in the fourth inning, which starts with a screaming line drive from Martinez right into Drew's glove. Then it's Peralta who hits one right at Drew, this time on the ground. The ball Avila hits is to just about the same spot, but it's Bogaerts who is there to field it this time as Boston has its infielders' positions adjusted for the lefty-swinging catcher. It's the first inning without a baserunner for Detroit, and it's worth wondering if the Tigers' best chance to get to Buchholz has passed.Scherzer could use a quick inning of his own after the high stress of the previous frame, and Ortiz helps him by hitting a first-pitch pop-up into short right field, where Infante — playing in the overshift — only has to take a few steps backward to make the play. Strikeouts of Napoli and Saltalamacchia complete the easy frame, and if it wasn't obvious before that this pitcher's duel was living up to everyone's hopes and dreams, well, it should be now after 1-2-3 innings for both hurlers.FIFTH INNINGBuchholz records his seventh consecutive out when Infante grounds out to shortstop. Jackson draws a walk, but Buchholz makes it five straight innings without allowing a runner into scoring position when Iglesias hits a ball up the middle that Pedroia crosses to the shortstop side of second base to field, then steps on the bag and throws to first for the double play.Gomes is the first Red Sox batter in the game to let an outfielder record an out when he leads off the bottom of the fifth by sending a fly to left. Drew follows with a fly to left. Bogaerts goes to a full count, then hits a fly to center -- but not for Jackson to catch. It hits the side of the Green Monster that is in play, rather than a home run, and Bogaerts is held to a double because Jackson plays the carom perfectly. That solid work does not matter when Ellsbury singles to right field and Bogaerts comes across to make it 1-0 Red Sox. Ellsbury then is caught stealing, but he is immediately forgiven in Boston, as his hit has put the Red Sox 12 outs from the World Series.SIXTH INNINGGiven the lead to work with, Buchholz does pretty much the opposite of what he would like to do, and walks Hunter. A sharp single to left field by Cabrera gives the Tigers their first runner in scoring position all night, and with Fielder coming to the plate, Farrell calls to the bullpen for lefthander Franklin Morales.Before the game, Leyland said of his struggling first baseman, "Who knows, it can happen anytime, and that's what I continue to say about Prince. Anytime he's in the batter's box, I feel like something big can happen at any time. So far, it hasn't happened." What happens here is a four-pitch walk, and the bases are loaded.Brandon Workman is warming up in the Boston bullpen, but Morales stays in the game to turn Martinez around to hit righthanded. There are sarcastic cheers when Morales' 1-0 pitch — which is actually low — is called a strike, and then on the 2-1 pitch, there is an audible gasp from the crowd as Martinez sends a rocket off the Green Monster. It's hit so hard, he can only get a single out of it, but Hunter and Cabrera score, and Fielder goes to third. It's 2-1 Tigers, there is a chorus of boos, and Morales has completely and utterly failed in an eight-pitch outing in which he threw two strikes, one of which got hammered. Now Workman comes in.Peralta hits a ground ball to Pedroia that the second baseman fields, and looks to go home with. First, though, Pedroia spots Martinez running at him, and decides, what the heck, why not tag him, too? After all, it's Fielder running, home, and there will be plenty of time to deal with him after getting Martinez, who could have advanced to second for free had he held up. Instead, Martinez runs into Pedroia's tag, and Pedroia throws home. Fielder turns around and runs back toward third base, trying to get back with a headlong dive, but Saltalamacchia runs him down and makes the tag for a rare 4-2 double play. Peralta alertly runs to second to keep a threat alive for the Tigers, but after Don Kelly pinch-runs for him, Workman strikes out Avila looking.Scherzer handles prosperity with approximately the same aptitude as Buchholz did, and hits Victorino with a pitch. Then he walks Pedroia. Lefthander Drew Smyly is warming up in the bullpen, but when a gentleman in a jacket emerges from the dugout, it's Jones, not Leyland, and Scherzer stays in to face Ortiz. The result is a fly to left that Kelly runs down, and Ortiz sinks to 2-for-21 in the series.Scherzer puts himself in further trouble by throwing a wild pitch that moves the tying run to third base and the go-ahead run to second with one out. Scherzer needs to strike out Napoli, and he does. Then he gets Saltalamacchi

a to pop up to shortstop, and that's the end of the inning -- the Tigers are nine outs from forcing Game 7.SEVENTH INNINGOmar Infante starts the seventh inning with a flyout to center field. Jackson singles to center, then gets himself picked off. Iglesias hits a bouncer off Workman's glove for a single, and then Hunter hits a squibber that Workman bobbles for an error. That is the end of his night, and Junichi Tazawa comes in from the bullpen to face Cabrera in a spot for an insurance RBI. Detroit's slugger can't quite squeeze a ground ball through the infield, and Drew makes a sliding effort to snare it, then throws across for the third out.Scherzer, having thrown 94 pitches, remains in to face the bottom of the Boston order. Leyland has Smyly and Jose Veras warming up, but the Detroit skipper knows that behind his bullpen door lies a Wheel of Fortune home game, and he never knows when it might spin around to bankrupt. Of course, there's always a risk associated with leaving a starting pitcher in, too, and Gomes hits a ball off the top of the Green Monster for a double, just missing a tying home run.Drew tries to bunt, and for the second time in the game, the Red Sox fail to execute a sacrifice -- this time, the result is a strikeout. A walk to Bogaerts is the last act for Scherzer, who has thrown 110 pitches in an eight-strikeout, five-walk effort. Ellsbury hits a ground ball up the middle, and Iglesias appears ready to turn it into a double play, but gets ahead of himself and bobbles the ball, which loads the bases. Gomes thinks briefly about heading for home, and draws a throw back to third, but beats the play back easily. Jose Veras comes in from the bullpen.Victorino tries to stick his elbow in the way of a breaking ball to drive in the tying run. The ploy does not work, and after a foul ball, the count is 0-2. Victornio then lofts a high fly down the left field line that drops into the seats on top of the Green Monster for the second enormous grand slam of the series for the Red Sox following Ortiz's game-tying blast in Game 2. This one puts the Red Sox up 5-2, with the virtually unhittable closer Koji Uehara looming.The wheel has hit bankrupt all over the place for Leyland. Veras strikes out Ortiz, and then Phil Coke comes in to get Ortiz to ground out to end the inning.EIGHTH INNINGUehara is looming, and continues to loom, as the eighth inning begins with lefthander Craig Breslow coming in to face Fielder. A groundout to shortstop puts the Red Sox five outs away from the World Series. Martinez, turned around to bat righty again, strikes out, and the pennant is four outs away. And now, here's Kelly, a lefthanded hitter who came in for Peralta and made a nice defensive play that at one point seemed like it might help the Tigers hang on. He grounds out to second.For the purpose of giving people in New England a chance to order whatever they plan to drink in celebration of the pennant, the Red Sox bat in the bottom of the eighth, and Al Alburquerque comes in to pitch for the Tigers. Napoli strikes out. Saltalamacchia strikes out. Gomes strikes out. He did his business in the eighth inning.NINTH INNINGNow it's time for Uehara, who gets to face Avila, Infante, and Jackson. Basically, the Tigers' season is over. The last time Uehara gave up three runs in a game was Game 2 of the 2011 ALDS. Avila strikes out. Infante hits a squibber, and Jackson hits a ground ball to shortstop ... that Drew cannot field and is called an infield hit. So, that leaves it up to Iglesias, traded away from the Red Sox in the Jake Peavy deal, and high on the list of those responsible for Boston having taken the lead in this game. Fate is cruel.Jackson goes to second on defensive indifference. Iglesias strikes out — Uehara finishes with 11 pitches, all strikes. The Red Sox are back in the World Series for the first time since 2007.