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Victorino's grand slam gives Red Sox ALCS win over Tigers: Quick hits

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

The Red Sox are going back to the Fall Classic thanks to Shane Victorino's grand slam.
The Red Sox are going back to the Fall Classic thanks to Shane Victorino's grand slam. (USATSI)

More ALCS: Game 6 box score

BOSTON -- For a little while there, it sure seemed like the ALCS was heading for a Game 7. Max Scherzer pitched his guts out for six-plus innings and Victor Martinez came through with a clutch two-run single to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead in the sixth, but then ... the bullpen. It's been a problem all series and is the primary reason why the Tigers are going home while the Red Sox are going to the World Series. Let's recap Boston's 5-2 win in ALCS Game 6.

Hero: Well, this is pretty easy, no? Shane Victorino for the go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning. Grand slams are group efforts -- other guys have to get on base to make it happen, you know -- but the dude who hits the ball over the fence gets the most love. The Red Sox nearly hit two home runs earlier in the game (Dustin Pedroia and Jonny Gomes), but the third time was a charm.

Goat: Jose Iglesias. Poor kid. Jacoby Ellsbury hit what was very likely going to be an inning-ending ground ball right to Iglesias in that seventh inning, but he bobbled the ball and everyone was safe. That's what loaded the bases for Victorino. Instead of the inning being over, the Red Sox hit a grand slam. Brutal. Just brutal.

Turning point: Well, this is pretty obvious, no? How about a graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Hitting a grand slam to turn a one-run deficit into a three-run lead in the seventh inning sure is a great way to move the needle.

(If you don't know win expectancy graphs, well know you know.)

It was over when: The grand slam did it. There was going to be no comeback after that, not with Craig Breslow and Koji Uehara ready and waiting in the Red Sox bullpen. The Tigers are a really good team, but there's no coming back from that. Soul-crusher.

Next: The World Series! It's a rematch of the 2004 Fall Classic as the Red Sox and Cardinals get together again. The series opens on Wednesday night and we don't know who the starting pitchers will be at this point, but Adam Wainwright vs. Jon Lester is a pretty safe bet.

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