Red Sox beat Tigers to reach World Series

Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:07pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Shane Victorino belted a seventh-inning grand slam to put the Boston Red Sox into the World Series with a 5-2 victory over the visiting Detroit Tigers that clinched the American League Championship on Saturday.

Victorino's blast turned a 2-1 deficit into a three-run lead and sent the Fenway faithful into a frenzy as the Hawaiian thumped his chest and roared in delight while rounding the bases.

The Red Sox, who won the best-of-seven series 4-2, will meet National League champions St. Louis for Major League Baseball's championship starting on Wednesday in Boston.

The showdown will be a rematch of the 2004 Fall Classic, won by Boston in a four-game sweep that ended their 86-year championship drought.

Red Sox closer Koji Uehara was named Most Valuable Player of the series after registering one win and three saves in Boston's turnaround triumph. The Red Sox had finished last in the AL East in 2012 with a 69-93 record.

"From day one in spring training there was something special about this team," said Victorino, one of several players brought in to change the team chemistry.

"Guys came here in one mindset. I know the last couple of years have been tough here. But you know, we put that all behind us. Boston strong."

A tense pitching duel between Boston's Clay Buchholz and Detroit's Max Scherzer turned into a see-saw struggle as the Red Sox scored in the fifth to take a 1-0 lead, only for the Tigers to take it right back in the sixth, moving 2-1 ahead.

The seventh belonged to Boston as Victorino, who had been a dismal 2-for-23 at the plate in the series, connected off reliever Jose Veras's third successive curve ball for the game-winning hit over the fence in left.   Continued...

 
Oct 19, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino (18) reacts after hitting a grand slam during the sixth inning in game six of the American League Championship Series baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports