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Ortiz grand slam lifts Sox

Boston's David Ortiz hits a grand slam home run as the Red Sox square the AL Championship Series against Detroit at 1-1.

Last Modified: 14 Oct 2013 09:49
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Ortiz celebrates with Jacoby Ellsbury after hitting a home run with bases loaded to down Detroit [AP]

David Ortiz blasted a game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning to ease Boston's struggles at the plate as the Red Sox rallied for a 6-5 victory over Detroit that squared the American League Championship Series at one game each.

The Red Sox had been dominated by Detroit pitching in the series opener on Saturday and fared little better back at Fenway Park against starter Max Scherzer a day later.

Scherzer, who won 21 games during the regular season, struck out 13 Red Sox batters in a dominant outing, as he gave up one run on two hits before leaving the mound with a 5-1 lead after seven innings.

The Tigers needed just six more outs and looked set to take a 2-0 series lead back home to Detroit but after the Red Sox put up a run in the bottom of the sixth, Ortiz smashed a grand slam home run in the eighth to tie the game at 5-5.

"I knew I put a good swing on it," Ortiz said. "I got (Detroit outfielder Torii Hunter) chasing everything out there, he almost caught the ball. But I thank God it went in the bullpen."

Jonny Gomes then led off the ninth with an infield single, reached scoring position on an error, and scored on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's walk-off RBI single.

The one that got away

"Looked like we had one in hand and let one get away, there's no question about that," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "It's playoff baseball."

The Tigers used five relievers, with Joaquin Benoit surrendering the Ortiz blast, before Rick Porcello came on in the ninth to take the loss.

Trailing by four runs and struggling to connect bat to ball, Boston finally found their form in the eighth when Will Middlebrooks doubled to left field, Jacoby Ellsbury walked and Dustin Pedroia loaded the bases with a single.

That set the stage for Ortiz, a two-time World Series champion, who has made a career of memorable hits in key moments and he did not disappoint a jubilant Fenway Park with another trademark clutch blast.

Before Ortiz's heroics, however, Boston had been stunted by Detroit's pitching.

The Tigers' Anibal Sanchez combined with four relievers for a one-hitter in Game One and Detroit held the Red Sox hit-less through five innings on Sunday.

The Tigers' pitching staff has already compiled 32 strikeouts in the first two games.

But after showing signs of life with Pedroia's RBI double in the sixth, it was sheer grit and determination that saw Boston battle back into the series.

Game Three is in Detroit on Tuesday.

448

Source:
Reuters
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