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BoSox tame Tigers to reach World Series

Updated: 2013-10-21 07:08
By Associated Press in Boston ( China Daily)

BoSox tame Tigers to reach World Series

Victorino deflates Detroit with seventh-inning grand slam

When Shane Victorino signed with the Boston Red Sox as a free agent in the offseason, they had fired their manager for the second year in a row and were coming off a last-place finish that was their worst in almost half a century.

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 on 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.

"It's 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 Marley's "Three Little Birds," and its chorus, "Don't worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing is gonna be all right."

BoSox tame Tigers to reach World Series

The star of the night was moved.

"The one thing I came here to do is to be a part of this city. With all we went through as a city, there's definitely a bond," Victorino said, referring to the Boston Marathon bombings that left the city reeling during the first month of his first season in town.

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, then lofted a hanging curveball over the Green Monster to set off a celebration in the Red Sox dugout and in the Fenway Park stands.

"It's been a special ride, and we're still going," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "We're 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. "And I thought their bullpen was great."

Uehara 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.

It's 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.

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.

It was the second career postseason 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.

"He's come up big a number of times this season, but none bigger," Farrell said. "Probably the last thing we're thinking of, that he's going to hit a ball out of the ballpark, and thankfully that curveball stayed up."

 BoSox tame Tigers to reach World Series

Boston Red Sox closer Koji Uehara and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia celebrate beating the Detroit Tigers 5-2 in Boston on Saturday to win the ALCS and advance to the World Series. Matt Slocum / Associated Press

(China Daily 10/21/2013 page24)