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yesterday. Timing couldnt be much worse. Not the ideal prep for the .BOSTON --
When Shane Victorino signed with the Boston Red Sox as a free agent in the
off-season, they were coming off a last-place finish that was their worst in
almost half a century. They had fired their manager for the second year in a
row. He believed they could turn it around. And quickly. Victorino brought the
Red Sox one big step closer to completing their comeback, sending them to the
World Series with a seventh-inning grand slam that gave Boston a 5-2 victory
over the Detroit Tigers in Game 6 of the AL championship series Saturday night.
The Red Sox will open the Series on Wednesday night against the St. Louis
Cardinals, the team they swept in 2004 to end their 86-year title drought. The
Cardinals won the NL pennant on Friday night by eliminating the Los Angeles
Dodgers in six games. "Its one of those moments you live for," Victorino said as
he wandered around the Fenway Park infield while Red Sox fans serenaded him with
his theme song, Bob Marleys "Three Little Birds," and its chorus, "Dont worry
about a thing, Cause every little thing is gonna be all right." "Just listen to
the crowd," Victorino said, referring then to the Boston Marathon bombings that
left the city reeling during the first month of his first season in town. "The
one thing I came here to do is to be a part of this city. With all we went
through as a city, theres definitely a bond." Detroit took a 2-1 lead in the
sixth and 21-game winner Max Scherzer protected it until the seventh, when
Boston loaded the bases on a double, a walk and an error by rookie shortstop
Jose Iglesias, traded by the Red Sox in July. Victorino fell behind Jose Veras
0-2 but lofted a hanging curveball over the Green Monster to set off a
celebration in the Red Sox dugout and in the Fenway Park stands. "Its been a
special ride, and were still going," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "Were
not going to stop. We know what our goal is. We want to win the World Series."
Junichi Tazawa got one out for the win, Craig Breslow pitched a scoreless eighth
and series MVP Koji Uehara got the last three outs before the Red Sox poured out
of the dugout to begin their now-familiar celebration on the mound. "The way I
would sum it up is that I thought their starters were good," Tigers manager Jim
Leyland said. "I thought their bullpen was great." Uehara, who inherited the
closer job after the teams first two choices were injured, posted three saves
and a win in the series. Then he joked about pitching so well under pressure.
"To tell you the truth, I almost threw up," Uehara kidded through a translator.
Its the 13th AL pennant for the Red Sox and their first since 2007, when they
swept the Colorado Rockies to win it all for the second time in four seasons.
Boston swept the Cardinals in 04, winning Game 4 in St. Louis to clinch the
title that put an end to generations of disappointment. The latest trip comes
one year after a 69-win season that prompted the team to jettison its
high-priced stars, rebuild the roster and bring in manager John Farrell to
replace Bobby Valentine. Victorino was one of the biggest additions, and he
delivered on Saturday as he did for much of the season. "Since the first day of
spring training, there wasnt one person more important than the next," said
outfielder Jonny Gomes, another newcomer, who doubled to lead off the seventh,
missing a homer over the Green Monster by no more than a foot. "Were all pulling
in the same direction." Scherzer got one out in tthe seventh but left after
walking rookie Xander Bogaerts to put runners on first and second. Jamie Benn Stars Jersey
. Drew Smyly got Jacoby Ellsbury to hit a grounder up the middle, but it popped out of Iglesias
glove behind second base and everyone was safe. Veras came in and quickly got
ahead of Victorino. But he hung a curveball and Victorino sent it toward the
37-foot left-field wall, which had already knocked down two Red Sox line drives.
This one left no doubt. It was the second career post-season slam for Victorino,
who also had a record-setting hit-by-pitch in the sixth but failed to get a bunt
down in the third. "Hes come up big a number of times this season, none bigger,"
Farrell said. "Probably the last thing were thinking of, that hes going to hit a
ball out of the ballpark, and thankfully the curveball stayed (up)." Scherzer
and Clay Buchholz also matched up in Game 2, when the Tigers right-hander took a
no-hitter and a 5-0 lead into the sixth. The Red Sox rallied against the Detroit
bullpen, tying it on David Ortizs eighth-inning grand slam and winning it in the
ninth on Jarrod Saltalamacchias walk-off single through a drawn-in infield. Both
starters gave up hits in the first inning in the rematch, but it remained
scoreless until Bogaerts doubled off the Green Monster with two outs in the
fifth and scored on Ellsburys single. But the Tigers took the lead in the bottom
half, chasing Buchholz with a walk and Miguel Cabreras single before
Franklin Morales walked Prince Fielder on four pitches to load the bases with
nobody out. Victor Martinez lined one high off the Green Monster to make it 2-1,
holding at first with a two-run single. Brandon Workman came in and got
Jhonny Peralta to hit a hard grounder to Pedroia, who chased down Martinez in
the basepath for one out and then threw home to get Fielder in a rundown.
Saltalamacchia ran him back to third and dove, somersaulting over him while
making the tag. Workman struck out Alex Avila looking to end the inning.
Scherzer worked out of a jam in the bottom half after putting runners on second
and third with one out. He allowed three runs on four hits and five walks,
striking out seven in 6 1-3 innings. Buchholz gave up two runs on four hits and
two walks, striking out four in five-plus innings. Scherzer walked the first two
batters in the third, but Victorino popped up a bunt and Scherzer made a sliding
catch for the first out. Pedroia hit a high drive that was just foul of the
Carlton Fisk pole above the Green Monster. After it was confirmed by replay, he
hit a hard grounder down the line that Cabrera fielded, easily stepping on third
base before throwing to first for the double play. NOTES: It will be the first
World Series between the teams with the best record in each league since 1999.
... Detroit C Alex Avila, who absorbed a body shot and a foul ball off the mask
in Game 5, took another ball off the mask in the fourth but remained in the
game. ... The Dropkick Murphys sang the national anthem before the game,
followed by "Shipping up to Boston," wearing Red Sox jerseys that said "Boston
Strong" and the number 617. ... The Red Sox are 6-0 in Game 6 of the ALCS. ...
Ellsbury had successfully stolen 18 bases in a row in the regular season and
playoffs before being thrown out in the fifth. ... Victorino was hit by a pitch
leading off the sixth, his sixth of the playoffs, extending his record and
setting a major league record with the 10th post-season HBP of his career.
Alex Rodriguez had the old record. Cheap Jerseys From China
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