BOSTON — We probably shouldn’t be surprised by anything this team does.
The Red Sox have been providing incredible moments all season, particularly when their backs are against the wall. The most difficult situations always seem to bring out the best in Boston, and that resilience is manifested in this year’s Red Sox team.
Max Scherzer held the Red Sox hitless through 5 2/3 innings in Game 2 on Sunday, and the Tigers jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Detroit held a 5-1 lead with two outs in the eighth inning and appeared to be on its way to handing Boston a soul-crushing defeat until David Ortiz smacked a game-tying grand slam.
Koji Uehara followed Ortiz’s heroics with a perfect top of the ninth inning, and the Red Sox won the game and evened up the series in the bottom half of the inning by pushing across a run against Rick Porcello. Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove in Jonny Gomes with a single into left field.
The Red Sox have had so many memorable moments this season that it’s been hard to pick one as the defining moment. It appears that we finally have a front-runner, as the ALCS changed dramatically in about a half-hour span at Fenway Park on Sunday night.
While Game 2 could eventually be looked back upon as a moment that changed everything, the Red Sox need to make sure that they quickly turn the page, as Justin Verlander awaits them in Detroit. We can still talk about Sunday’s crazy contest, though, so let’s unload the notebook.
It adds to an impressive playoff resume for Ortiz, who is the Red Sox’ all-time leader in postseason runs (44), hits (67), doubles (16), homers (15), RBIs (50), total bases (133) and walks (47).
Troy O’Leary (1999 ALDS Game 5) and Johnny Damon (2004 ALCS Game 7) were the other two.
“You know, I just tried not to do too much, man. I try to put a good swing on the ball. My ideal at‑bat wasn’t to go out and hit a grand slam,” Ortiz said. “We’ve been struggling when it comes down to put a good swing on the ball. Those guys have been doing an outstanding job hitting the spot and keeping ‑‑ keeping us off balance. If I was telling you about thinking about hitting a gland slam, I’d be lying to you now. You try to put a good swing on the ball and that happens.”
“Well, David Ortiz, I guess that just adds to his resume of awesomeness,” Gomes said.
Hunter stayed in the game and later made it clear that a few bumps and bruises aren’t going to keep him off the field. In fact, he wants to be out there as long as he has a pulse.
“I was going up after the ball, and ended up flipping over. It was all or nothing,” Hunter said. “My hip, it hit the top of the wall. Kinda just bruised it a little bit. But this is postseason. I’d die on the field for this. They’re not going to take me off this field.”
“It’s obvious. I’m pissed off,” Hunter said. “The one guy you don’t want to beat you, he beat us. One of the best hitters in postseason history. This guy, he hit the ball out of the park, it ties the game up, and they end up coming back and winning the game. We’re all pissed. Everyone on this team is pissed that that happened.
“You don’t want David Ortiz to beat you. Everybody in the whole world knows that this dude can beat you. And it happened. It hurts. But what can you do?”
“Coke hadn’t pitched a big game for quite a while,” Leyland said. “Benoit is our guy against the lefties, and we felt he gave us the best chance to get the out.”
Coke, who was added to the ALCS roster, hasn’t pitched since Sept. 18.
Uehara needed just nine pitches to make quick work of the Tigers, and it helped keep Boston’s momentum going.