Game 1 of the 2013 World Series will be played in Fenway Park thanks to a Shane Victorino grand slam that led the Red Sox to a pennant-clinching 5-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
The game began, fittingly for this series, with a pitchers' duel. Max Scherzer and Clay Buchholz traded four scoreless innings back-and-forth, but neither was perfect. While Buchholz was scattering his baserunners, Scherzer clumped two together in what was nearly a game-changing third inning.
After Xander Bogaerts and Jacoby Ellsbury reached base with walks, Shane Victorino popped a bunt back to a sliding Max Scherzer, bringing Dustin Pedroia to the plate. With one swing of the bat, Pedroia came within inches of making it 3-0, but instead had his rocket deep into the Boston night hook just barely foul, then grounded into a double play shortly thereafter.
The fourth inning would go quietly for Scherzer, but not the fifth. Continuing to show why he's rated as Boston--and perhaps all of baseball's--best prospect, Xander Bogaerts launched a full-count fastball off the wall in left-center for a double that would have been gone in many parks. Jacoby Ellsbury ripped a single to right behind him, and the Red Sox took a 1-0 lead.
It was short-lived. The sixth inning would prove a complete debacle for the Sox. In the top half, Buchholz allowed a pair of leadoff baserunners, and was pulled for Franklin Morales, who walked Prince Fielder on four pitches. Left in to face Victor Martinez, Morales did what he does against most batters who can hit from the right side of the plate, allowing a big hit and giving Detroit the 2-1 lead. Only a big double play induced by Brandon Workman and aided by a Prince Fielder baserunning error saved the Tigers from blowing it wide open.
Then, in the bottom of the sixth, given the chance to retake the lead after putting two men on to start the frame, the Red Sox proceeded to go 1-2-3, with David Ortiz' line drive out to left field the only significant threat to the Tigers.
That brought the game to the seventh, where everything would change. Stephen Drew made a fantastic diving play on a Miguel Cabrera ground ball to bail out Brandon Workman after a couple of defensive gaffes on his part, sending the game to the bottom of the inning. There, John Farrell's decision to stick with Jonny Gomes finally paid off with a rocket double off a fading Scherzer that nearly cleared the wall. Xander Bogaerts walked behind him, and--miracle of miracles--a Jose Iglesias error allowed Jacoby Ellsbury to reach, loading the bases.
Up came Shane Victorino, 2-for-23 in the series. Pitch one from reliever Jose Veras was a curveball for a called strike. Pitch two another curve, fouled off. It was the third curveball that was the real mistake. 0-2, over the middle, hanging up just enough. Shane Victorino went down a bit to get it, and lifted it into the Monster seats. Gone--the second huge ALCS grand slam for the Red Sox and, after two quick innings from Craig Breslow and Koji Uehara, another game-winner.
This time, though, it was in the clinching game. The Red Sox have defeated the Tigers 4-2 and are headed to the World Series!
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