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Red Sox rally, tie Tigers at 1 in ALCS

Torii Hunter tumbles over the wall as Boston’s bullpen catcher snares David Ortiz’s grand slam ball in the eighth.

Associated Press

Torii Hunter tumbles over the wall as Boston’s bullpen catcher snares David Ortiz’s grand slam ball in the eighth.

BOSTON — David Ortiz revived the Red Sox with a tying grand slam in the eighth inning, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a winning single in the ninth as Boston stunned the Tigers 6-5 Sunday to even the American League Championship Series at one game each.

Detroit was cruising to its second straight win at Fenway Park, with Max Scherzer taking a no-hitter and a 5-0 lead into the sixth inning.

But with one swing, Big Papi flipped everything. Ortiz hit a two-out shot that sent rightfielder Torii Hunter jack-knifing into the Boston bullpen in a futile attempt to catch the ball, making it 5-5.

Saltalamacchia's single, which drove in former Ray Jonny Gomes, came after a series of Tigers misplays in the ninth. A wild throw, a wild pitch and a missed catch by first baseman Prince Fielder on a foul ball set up the game-ending hit.

The teams head to Detroit for Game 3 on Tuesday. Justin Verlander is scheduled to face Boston's John Lackey.

Boston's big comeback followed a dramatic Patriots victory right down the road in which Tom Brady threw the winning touchdown pass with 5 seconds left to beat the Saints. The score was greeted with cheers by Red Sox fans waiting for the baseball game to start.

A day after Anibal Sanchez and the Detroit staff combined on a one-hitter for a 1-0 win, Scherzer excelled. He struck out 13 while allowing two hits in seven innings and was pulled after 108 pitches.

"It's playoff baseball," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Looked like we had one in hand, and we let one get away, there's no question about that. But there have been two great games."

Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila homered off Clay Buchholz in Detroit's four-run sixth inning.

Boston scored once in the sixth, then loaded the bases against three relievers in the eighth before closer and former Ray Joaquin Benoit went in to face Ortiz.

On his first pitch, Ortiz hit a line drive into the glove of the Red Sox bullpen catcher, with Hunter flipping headfirst over the chest-high wall in pursuit.

The fans waited until the trainers verified that Hunter was okay to start chanting, "Papi!" and call the Red Sox slugger out of the dugout for a curtain call.

It was the first career postseason grand slam for Ortiz, a star of the 2004 playoff run that ended in Boston's first World Series title in 86 years.

"When you consider (we were) down four runs, not a very likely scenario that you come back from that many runs that late in the game," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

Gomes led off the ninth against Rick Porcello with a ground ball to the left of shortstop Jose Iglesias, a defensive replacement. The former Red Sox prospect fielded it but rushed the throw, and the ball bounced past Fielder and into the Boston dugout as Gomes slid headfirst into the bag with an infield hit.

With Gomes on second because of the error, Saltalamacchia hit a high popup near the rolled-up tarp that bounced off Fielder's glove.

A fan reached up trying to catch the foul. Fielder looked as if he wanted an interference call, but replays showed he simply let the ball glance off his glove.

Gomes took third on Porcello's wild pitch. Then Saltalamacchia hit a sharp grounder through the left side of the drawn-in infield.

Red Sox rally, tie Tigers at 1 in ALCS 10/13/13 [Last modified: Monday, October 14, 2013 12:33am]
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