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Red Sox mount improbable comeback, walk off winners in Game 2 to even ALCS at 1-1

Oct 13, 2013, 11:52 PM EDT

ALCS - Detroit Tigers v Boston Red Sox - Game Two Getty Images

Has the sleeping giant risen from his slumber? The Red Sox led the American League in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and (of course) OPS during the regular season, but between Game 1 and the fifth inning of Game 2, they looked more like the Miami Marlins. They were no-hit through eight and two-thirds innings in Game 1 and didn’t get their first hit until the sixth inning in Game 2. It was rough to watch for Sox fans.

Behind 5-1, the Red Sox pushed across one run in the sixth inning on Dustin Pedroia‘s RBI double off of the Green Monster, but down four runs, it looked like it was too little, too late, especially with the way Scherzer was pitching.

Scherzer was lifted after seven innings and 108 pitches, giving way to the same bullpen that very nearly preserved Anibal Sanchez‘s no-hitter in Game 1. But the combination of Jose Veras, Drew Smyly, Al Alburquerque, and Joaquin Benoit could not halt a Red Sox comeback. David Ortiz struck the big blow against Benoit, sending a game-tying grand slam into the Red Sox bullpen in right-center with two outs.

After Koji Uehara mowed down the Tigers in the top of the ninth, Tigers manager Jim Leyland gave Rick Porcello the gargantuan task of shutting down a reinvigorated Red Sox lineup to get the Tigers into extra innings. He could not do that. Jonny Gomes led off with a ground ball deep in the hole to shortstop Jose Iglesias. Rather than pocket the ball, Iglesias fired the ball to first base, but it skipped wide of Prince Fielder into the stands, allowing Gomes to go to second base with nobody out. Porcello then uncorked a wild pitch, giving Gomes the privilege of casually strolling into third base, giving him plenty of ways to score the winning run with Jarrod Saltalamacchia at the dish. Saltalamacchia went ahead 3-1 against Porcello, then hit a 94 MPH fastball on the ground to left field. Gomes touched home as the Red Sox dugout excitedly poured onto the field in jubilation. Porcello walked off the field to a shellshocked Tiger dugout wondering how they let this one slip away.

To put this in context: Per FanGraphs, the Red Sox had a four percent chance to win when Victorino struck out against Alburquerque for the second out in the eighth inning. They were 53 percent to win after Ortiz’s grand slam. They were 81 percent when Gomes singled and advanced to second on the error, and 93 percent when Gomes reached third base on the wild pitch.

Baseball is a funny game, isn’t it?

  1. chill1184 - Oct 13, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    Thats baseball for you and thats why its awesome.

    • drone501 - Oct 14, 2013 at 1:21 AM

      guess i shouldn’t have turned the game off in the 5th.

  2. thebadguyswon - Oct 13, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Why in God’s name would Rick Porcello be in there in that spot?

    • frank433 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:04 AM

      Benoit was probably emotionally drained and couldn’t get it done, so that leaves Porcello, Coke, and Alvarez in the bullpen. Out of those 3, who do you think should be in there?

  3. dirtybird28 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    Great day for NE sports. Especially the Sox, cuz I’m no Pats fan.

  4. drewzducks - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    It takes 9 innings to seal the deal Tigger fans. Special shout out to our old friend Jose with an assist.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:03 AM

      Prince blew it even worse. Shouldn’t have let Jose’s throw past, probably should’ve squeezed that foul pop-up.

      • drewzducks - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:06 AM

        How doesn’t that wide body block that throw ? Now we only have to deal with Verlander…but we’ll worry about that on Tuesday.

      • MLBlogsbig3bosox - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:06 AM

        Yeah man.. I know Fielder’s defense is pretty awful but tonight we just saw how bad it can get. Those were plays that an average fielding 1st baseman would make.

  5. steelers88 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:02 AM

    One word: WOW!

  6. tablescrappy - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    Awesome game.

  7. MLBlogsbig3bosox - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    Oh man I love baseball! I don’t care which team you are fan of, all 4 games of these LCS have been decided by just 1 run. That’s awesome. If this keeps up, i’ll probably need a heart transplant. Go Sox!

    • emykk - Oct 14, 2013 at 3:06 AM

      I hear ya. As a Cards fan, the first two games almost killed me. I hate that I missed the end of tonight’s game beacuse I had to leave for work (can you tell I’m working hard right now?). If it keeps up, this is going to be an epic year for LCS’s.

  8. xmatt0926x - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    F***!!!!! I was watching, had stuff I wanted to get done, figured the game was over the way Scherzer was pitching and I turned the game off. Not a Sox fan but I would have likes to see the comeback. Damn it..

  9. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:09 AM

    About halfway through I was talking about how the Sox came back from 7-0 down against the Rays, and about how Ortiz hit grand slam agains the Tigers in the ninth a few years ago to make that one a game. Never ever give up on a game at Fenway.

  10. isuperknowni - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    And that’s why they play all the nine innings or for the pats. The full Monty 4 quarters

  11. marc0626 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    Next three game in detroit. Is sanchez pitching game 4?

    • frank433 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:15 AM

      Fister is scheduled to. Don’t see why he won’t have a chance to start.

  12. earpaniac - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    Somehow I doubt that this is the first time “wide” and “Prince Fielder” have appeared in the same sentence.

  13. dafern0560 - Oct 14, 2013 at 12:51 AM

    If I was Jim Leyland, I would not use Joaquin Benoit ever again as a closer.

    • Minoring In Baseball - Oct 14, 2013 at 1:14 AM

      I agree, this loss is all on Leyland. He played around with the bullpen, and Boston is a good enough to to take advantage of it. I think this will be his last year in Detroit. Either they win it all and he retires, or he blows it and is asked to step down. Still feel good about game 3 with Verlander on the hill. Hopefully the same mistakes won’t be made.

      • moogro - Oct 14, 2013 at 1:36 AM

        Coke should have faced Papi. Papi is 2/18 against him.

      • Minoring In Baseball - Oct 14, 2013 at 3:11 AM

        That probably would have worked, too. Anything other than Benny.

      • dan1111 - Oct 14, 2013 at 7:47 AM

        This is just hindsight. Leyland was playing the match-ups in the 8th, which was perfectly reasonable given the situation, but the relievers just didn’t get it done.

        Furthermore, bringing in his best reliever to face Ortiz seems like the right choice to me. Basing this decision on tiny head-to-head sample sizes is dumb; it speaks well of Leyland that he did not do that. Ortiz has decent power against lefties for his career. I would not choose a mediocre lefty like Coke over Benoit.

      • Minoring In Baseball - Oct 14, 2013 at 8:42 AM

        And that’s why the series is tied at one. Benny is far from their best reliever, especially based on his last few outings.

  14. zigsmart - Oct 14, 2013 at 1:29 AM

    Can you explain to me how the team with the best record in the American League winning a game in the playoffs is improbable?

    • MLBlogsbig3bosox - Oct 14, 2013 at 2:30 AM

      Improbable comeback, not improbable win.

  15. pistolpete0903 - Oct 14, 2013 at 3:18 AM

    An instant classic; add another chapter to the Red Sox folk-lore.

    If I were a Red Sox fan, I wouldn’t be too giddy though. Game 3 is against Mr. Kate Upton (OK, that was below the belt) and he would probably pitch again if there is a Game 7.

    The Tigers starting pitchers are good; and barring the homer by Papi, the bullpen has been ironclad for Detroit. Also, the big guns (Fielder, Cabrera) are going to fire. So, it is still the Tigers series to loose.

  16. Jonny 5 - Oct 14, 2013 at 6:15 AM

    Jim Leyland continuing to use Pork Cello ?? Why??

    • stex52 - Oct 14, 2013 at 8:48 AM

      Glad you said it first, Jonny. But I think it reflects on the Tigers’ greatest weakness. (Well, maybe that and infield fielding). The bullpen is just not terribly good or deep.

      • pwshrugged - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:01 AM

        There wasn’t anyone else. He blew through the best 4 relievers in the bullpen to play matchups in the 8th; he put in Porcello because it was a tie game and he probably felt like Porcello could pitch extra innings if necessary, too. It made more sense than using Drew Smyly for one batter. Porcello, though, doesn’t seem to pitch well in high-intensity relief outings, to be sure.

  17. dafern0560 - Oct 14, 2013 at 6:44 AM

    The sad truth is that the whole Tigers bullpen sucks. They are a liability on the mound. Other than that, they would laugh all the way thru a World Series title

  18. inthearex - Oct 14, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    Boston’s book of folklore is the equivalent to a foreword for the Yankees book of folklore.

    • 18thstreet - Oct 14, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      It’s not like they’ve been releasing new and updated editions of that book in a while. Given that Jeter’s 3000th hit was in July 2011, mine hasn’t been taken off the shelf in over two years.

    • billhicks666 - Oct 14, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      Who cares? One thing is for sure: Red Sox fans can’t come close to Yankees fans when it comes to obnoxiousness.

  19. pwshrugged - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    Benoit is picking a bad time to do his best Valverde (circa 2012) impression.

    I was having PTSD flashbacks of last year’s playoffs all last night.

  20. nbjays - Oct 14, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    (looks around nervously)

    Has Historiophiliac stopped throwing things yet?

  21. bornintoitiniowa - Oct 14, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    I’m pretty sure I scared the guy who lives above me at my apartment complex when I was screaming after Ortiz’s grand slam. Great game, and great day for Boston sports comebacks.

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