BOSTON -- Torii Hunter has said repeatedly that he signed with the Tigers last November because he thought they gave him the best chance to win a World Series.
Hunter is in danger of falling short of that goal for a 17th straight season.
The Tigers are facing elimination by the Boston Red Sox, who are up, 3-2, in the American League Championship Series. The Tigers must beat the Red Sox twice on Saturday and Sunday in Fenway Park.
Hunter, ever confident, tried to put a positive spin on the situation after a 4-3 loss in Game 5 on Thursday night at Comerica Park.
"We're down, 3-2, and it's an uphill battle," Hunter said. "I kind of like the position we're in."
Hunter, 38, is playing in his third ALCS. He never has played in the World Series.
In 2002, Hunter played for the Twins and lost in the ALCS to the Angels in five games. In 2009, he played for the Angels and lost in the ALCS to the Yankees in six games.
Catcher Brayan Pena said everyone knows what's at stake and how tough the situation is for the Tigers: "Like everybody say, it's going to be a heavyweight battle."
The teams already have played four one-run games in the series, tying the ALCS record set in 1997 between the Indians and Orioles.
"We'll come in with some fight," Hunter said. "We've got (Max) Scherzer and (Justin) Verlander going. Of course, we've got to worry about Scherzer first. Let him get through that. I like our chances."
Scherzer will start Game 6 on Saturday against Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz. If the Tigers force Game7, Verlander would start for the Tigers on Sunday.
"He's definitely going to give us a chance, a really good opportunity for us to go out there and win a ballgame," Hunter said of Scherzer. "They've got Buchholz. He's a really good pitcher. We've just got to study and make adjustments and hopefully get it done."
Hunter suggested there's more pressure on the Red Sox to close out the series than there is on the Tigers to force a Game7.
"Pressure is on them to hold us back," he said. "We're going to go. We're going to fight and have some fun with it. Whatever happens, we're going to go all-out."
Hunter sounded like he was trying to relax some of his teammates with his comments after the Game5 loss.
"When we play looser, we're a really good ballclub," Hunter said. "So being down, 3-2, I think you go in a little light, a little looser. Play the game. It's an uphill battle, but I think it's good for us."
Victor Martinez, who missed last season with a knee injury, was another player sounding confident about the team's tough task.
"Once again we've got our backs against the wall," Martinez said. "Like Torii said, we still like our chances."
Martinez said it helps that Scherzer and Verlander have pitched in big games.
Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks said facing Scherzer, and possibly Verlander, to close out a series is tough.
"We're just trying to grind out at-bats," he said. "With the Scherzers and Verlanders, we're doing our best to get the pitch count up. And when those guys are on, there's not much you can do. So you just try to get into the bullpen."
Though Hunter and Martinez like their chances, so do the Red Sox.
"This is a very focused group," manager John Farrell said after Game5. "It's been the case all year, from Day1 of spring training. Our guys are well aware of where we are.
"But at the same time the beauty of them is to not get ahead of themselves, and that will be the case once that first pitch is thrown on Saturday."
The Red Sox are one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2007
"We always smell blood, man," said second baseman Dustin Pedroia after Game 5. "It's like our 103rd win or something. We're pretty good."
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