BOSTON -- A celebration of beer and fried chicken was in order Saturday night at Fenway Park when the Red Sox pulled off another late-inning comeback in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.
Shane Victorino's seventh-inning grand slam off Tigers reliever Jose Veras erased a one-run deficit and led the Red Sox to a 5-2 victory, launching Boston into its third World Series since 2004.
After two near-miss home runs fell inches short, by Dustin Pedroia in the third and Jonny Gomes in the seventh, Victorino launched an 0-2 pitch from Veras into the Green Monster seats, turning the ballpark upside-down.
The Red Sox will meet the Cardinals in a World Series for the fourth time in a matchup of the Birds vs. the Beards.
Game 6 was a virtual rerun of Game 2, when Max Scherzer shut down the Red Sox for seven innings before David Ortiz's game-tying eighth inning grand slam off Joaquin Benoit ignited a 5-4 win.
Scherzer again dominated into the seventh, but he left with a 2-1 lead, two on and one out, after throwing 110 pitches.
An error by shortstop Jose Iglesias loaded the bases, and Victorino, batting .087 in the series, came through with his second career postseason grand slam, tying Jim Thome's record.
Scherzer, who held the Red Sox hitless for 52/3 innings in his Game 2 start, picked up where he left off, taking a shutout into the fifth. But rookie Xander Bogaerts doubled off the Green Monster in left-center, and Jacoby Ellsbury singled to right on the first pitch to bring home the first run.
Red Sox manager John Farrell removed starter Clay Buchholz with one out in the sixth after a leadoff walk to Torii Hunter and a single by Miguel Cabrera, though Buchholz had thrown only 85 pitches. Lefty reliever Franklin Morales walked Prince Fielder on four pitches to load the bases and gave up a two-run single off the wall to Victor Martinez, handing the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
The Red Sox escaped further damage when Brandon Workman induced a wild double play in which Pedroia tagged out Martinez on his way to second and rifled a throw to the plate. Fielder appeared frozen in between third and home, and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia ran him down and tagged him out, tumbling over the hefty Fielder.
Scherzer escaped a jam in the sixth before the Tigers made another baserunning gaffe in the seventh when Austin Jackson was picked off first by Workman.
Early on, the Red Sox missed taking a 3-0 lead in the third inning by a whisker when Pedroia's shot to left barely missed the left-field foul pole, invoking memories of Carlton Fisk's iconic walk-off home run against the Reds in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. A video replay of the shot confirmed the ruling, and Pedroia eventually grounded into an inning-ending double play.
But it was all just prelude to a crazy ending, the kind the Red Sox seem to have patented at Fenway Park.
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