Monday, October 14, 2013

Red Sox shock Tigers to even ALCS

American League Championship Series Game 2
Detroit Tigers (5) at Boston Red Sox (6) – Series tied 1-1

What a difference two innings makes! The Boston Red Sox, on the verge of getting completely whitewashed on their home field, put together an amazing comeback from four runs down to beat the Detroit Tigers in Game 2 of the ALCS.

Tigers' pitching had thoroughly smothered Boston’s offense as Max Scherzer continued where his fellow staff members finished Game 1. Scherzer held the Red Sox hitless through 5 2/3 innings and finished the night leaving with a 5-1 lead after seven dominant innings. Scherzer struck out 13 batters along the way.

The Tigers’ offense woke up a bit courtesy of home runs from Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila wrapped around a run-scoring double by Victor Martinez. Avila drove in three runs on the night. Boston starter Clay Buchholz allowed all the Tigers runs.

The Tigers bullpen, which had pitched nearly flawlessly in Game 1, took over in the eighth but could not contain the Red Sox once again. Three relievers allowed the bases loaded with two outs and in came Detroit closer Joaquin Benoit. Boston designated hitter and postseason masher, David Ortiz, launched Benoit’s first pitch over the right center field wall over the outstretched reach of Torii Hunter, who flipped over the fence and into Boston’s bullpen. One pitch and the game was all tied up.

Tigers lefty Phil Coke, who has held the left-handed hitting Ortiz to just two hits in 18 at-bats, was not used because he hadn't pitched in three weeks according to Detroit manager Jim Leyland. Leyland went to Benoit and he got burned. Yes, the same could have happened to Coke, I just don't understand the point of putting Coke on the roster if he will not pitch to Ortiz in that spot.

After Red Sox closer Koji Uehara set the Tigers down in order, Boston received some good fortune via a former teammate. Jose Iglesias, traded to the Tigers earlier in the season, was in for defensive purposes and threw away the first ball hit to him by Jonny Gomes on a tough play. Gomes moved to second on the errant throw. Tigers’ reliever Rick Porcello induced a pop foul on the first base side, but Price Fielder could not make the play against the fans. That allowed another opportunity for Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who delivered a single by Iglesias easily driving in Gomes, who was on third after a wild pitch. The Red Sox erupted out of the dugout to celebrate an improbable victory.

The series heads to Detroit for three games with the series tied instead of the Tigers holding a firm advantage. That’s postseason baseball!

Notes:

  • Detroit was the 14th team out of 473 games to lose after holding a five-run lead.
  • Ortiz has 15 home runs and 54 RBIs in 72 postseason games. The grand slam was the first of his postseason career.
  • Hunter was banged up after the play but hit in the ninth and indicated he would be fine in the postgame interviews.
  • Tigers’ starters have dominated in the series totaling 25 strikeouts. The team has 32 in all.
  • Tigers’ center fielder Austin Jackson is 3-for-30 this postseason with 16 strikeouts.
  • Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli has two hits in 17 at-bats and has just one RBI in the postseason.
  • Boston’s bullpen has not allowed a run in six innings of work.

Game 3 Probables
Boston – John Lackey
Detroit – Justin Verlander

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