Shane Victorino hit a grand slam as the Boston Red Sox reached Major League Baseball’s World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals with a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers.
The Red Sox, who won the American League Championship series four games to two last night one year after falling to last place in their division, and the Cardinals will begin their best-of-seven championship series at Fenway Park on Oct. 23.
The Red Sox claimed their 13th American League pennant and the first since 2007 when they swept the Colorado Rockies for the World Series title. Three years earlier in 2004, Boston beat the Cardinals in four games for the championship title.
“When I came here, people counted me out,” Victorino said in a televised interview. “I wanted to prove something. As the song says, ‘everything little thing’s going to be all right.’ We proved a lot to the doubters.”
The Tigers moved ahead of the Red Sox 2-1 in the sixth inning on a two-run single by Victor Martinez after Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury sent home Xander Bogaerts on a single in the fifth inning at Fenway Park.
Boston starter Max Scherzer gave up a double to Jonny Gomes in the seventh, struck out Stephen Drew and walked Bogaerts before he was relieved by Drew Smyly after 110 pitches. Ellsbury loaded the bases on a single, which brought in Jose Veras to deliver the pitch to Victorino, who was 2-for-23 during the ALCS before his home run.
“As a grinder, I just got to keep swinging,” Gomes said in a televised interview.
Junichi Tazawa (1-0) pitched a perfect one-third inning for the win while Koji Uehara got his third save, allowing one hit and striking out two in the ninth inning.
Dustin Pedroia, who had a hit, walk and strikeout, called the playoff series “a special ride.”
“There are a lot of guys who bought into this team,” Pedroia said. “It’s been a different guy every night. We’re still going though. We have a bunch of guys who love playing baseball.”
Scherzer (0-1), a 21-game winner during the regular season, allowed three runs on four hits and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings.