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Suddenly and stunningly, Red Sox aren't done, and neither is the ALCS

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider

BOSTON -- They should have been done. They were done.

That's what you thought, wasn't it?

We all did. Right up until the time David Ortiz walked up to the plate.

The Red Sox aren't done, and neither is this American League Championship Series. The Red Sox are alive, because David Ortiz gave them life.

He may not have won the ALCS with his grand slam off Joaquin Benoit in the eighth inning Sunday night, but he kept the Red Sox from already having lost the best-of-7 series just two games in.

That's how it looked. That's how it felt, all the way up until Ortiz batted against Benoit.

The Red Sox were nearly no-hit Saturday. They were nearly no-hit Sunday. They were going to be down two games to none to the Tigers, heading to Detroit and heading for a Game 3 meeting with Justin Verlander.

That last part is still true. Only that last part.

The Red Sox will face Verlander on Tuesday in Game 3.

But this ALCS is just getting started, and after what the Red Sox did late Sunday night to come back and win Game 2, it almost feels like they're now leading the series.

Ortiz's grand slam tied the game, 5-5. Jarrod Saltalamacchia's ninth-inning single off Rick Porcello won it for the Red Sox, 6-5.

The Red Sox still have just three hits total -- and 25 strikeouts -- in 13 innings against Tiger starting pitchers. They still look lost against pitchers with superior stuff.

But you know that roll the Red Sox have been on since early September (or maybe since spring training)?

It hasn't ended yet, no matter how many times they've swung and missed the last two nights.

Not only that, but the Red Sox have already exposed the Tigers' biggest weakness, a bullpen that they've tried hard to piece together all season. For the most part, the piecing together worked, mostly because Benoit proved an able fill-in as closer.

The bullpen didn't cost the Tigers in the Division Series against the A's, and the relievers were actually very good in Game 1 against the Red Sox (even though Benoit allowed the only Boston hit of the game).

Then in Game 2, after Max Scherzer gave the Tigers seven brilliant innings, manager Jim Leyland had to find a way to get six more outs. Scherzer had thrown 108 pitches, and he told Leyland that was all he had.

"I was done," Scherzer told reporters after the game. "You can write that down. I was done."

With a 5-1 lead and six outs to go, the Tigers shouldn't have been done. But the four relievers Leyland called on couldn't even get three outs before Ortiz changed the game.

And maybe the series.

It's not done. The Red Sox aren't done.

Not even close.

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