Detroit Tigers vs. Boston Red Sox: Score, Grades and Analysis for ALCS Game 6

Tim KeeneyContributor IOctober 20, 2013

The Boston Red Sox are headed back to the October Classic. 

For the second time in this ALCS, the Red Sox hit a late grand slam off the Detroit Tigers bullpen to win in thrilling fashion. On Saturday, it was Shane Victorino providing the heroics with a blast in the bottom of the seventh inning, propelling Boston to a series-clinching 5-2 win. 

Starting pitchers Max Scherzer and Clay Buchholz cruised through the first four innings, but the Sox broke the dry spell in the bottom of the fifth. 

After third baseman Xander Bogaerts hit a two-out double off the Green Monster, lead-off man Jacoby Ellsbury stepped to the plate and ripped an RBI single down the right-field line. Torii Hunter came up throwing, but Bogaerts slid home just in front of the throw. 

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 19:  Xander Bogaerts #72 of the Boston Red Sox scores a run off of Jacoby Ellsbury #2 single to right against Max Scherzer #37 of the Detroit Tigers in the fifth inning during Game Six of the American League Championship Series at Fen
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Tigers didn't take long to respond.

Hunter drew a walk and Miguel Cabrera singled to start the sixth inning, subsequently ending Buchholz' night. Franklin Morales came on to clean up the mess, but he walked Prince Fielder and gave up a two-run single to Victor Martinez, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead. 

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 19:  Victor Martinez #41 of the Detroit Tigers hits a single to deep left center against Franklin Morales #56 of the Boston Red Sox in the sixth inning scoring  Miguel Cabrera #24 and Torii Hunter #48 of the Detroit Tigers during Game
Al Bello/Getty Images

Both runs were charged to Buchholz, who finished with a line of five innings, four hits, two walks, two earned runs and four strikeouts. 

In the bottom of the seventh, the Sox got two on base against Scherzer, and an error by shortstop Jose Iglesias subsequently loaded the bases. With the table set for Victorino, the Flyin' Hawaiian entrenched himself in Red Sox lore with the huge game-winning homer. 


Craig Breslow and Koji Uehara closed things out with two scoreless innings, setting up a matchup on baseball's biggest stage with the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Jim Leyland had this to say after the game about the Tigers' loss (via MLB):


Player Grades

Max Scherzer, Tigers: C+

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 19:  Max Scherzer #37 of the Detroit Tigers walks to the dugout after being relieved in the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game Six of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 19, 2013 in Bos
Al Bello/Getty Images

Scherzer was nowhere near as dominant as he was in his last start. Most notably, he struggled with his control, giving up five walks, hitting Victorino, and not being able to get out of the seventh inning. 

In the end, he gave up three runs (two earned), four hits and five walks in 6.1 innings. He struck out eight. 

The 21-game winner was able to get out of a crucial sixth-inning jam with a strikeout of Mike Napoli and a pop up from Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but the seventh inning was a different story. 

Scherzer didn't give up the big hit, but he allowed two runners to reach base, setting up Victorino's game-winning bomb. 


Clay Buchholz, Red Sox: B

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 19:  Clay Buchholz #11 of the Boston Red Sox throws out to first base after a grounder hit by Austin Jackson #14 of the Detroit Tigers to end the top of the second inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game Six of the American Leag
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

For the second-straight start, Buchholz fell apart in the sixth inning on his third time through the lineup. 

You have to give him credit for holding the powerful Tigers scoreless through the first five innings, though. Franklin Morales, who allowed both of his inherited runners to score in the sixth, certainly didn't help his final line, but Buchholz clearly wasn't at his best. 

Nevertheless, not being at his best was still good enough for his team on this night. 


Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox: A

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 19:  Xander Bogaerts #72 of the Boston Red Sox claps on second base after being called safe in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game Six of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 19, 2013
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Shane Victorino is the obvious choice for an "A+", but a less-obvious selection deserves some credit too. 

For the third game in a row, Bogaerts hit a double and scored at least one run, but this time around, he also drew two walks, including a crucial one that drove Scherzer out of the game.

Victorinio will be remembered for the grand slam, but Bogaerts deserves praise as well. Without him, the complexion of the game could have been entirely different. 

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