Monday, December 11, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Red Sox beat Tigers to reach World Series

BOSTON — The Red Sox are going back to the World Series for the third time in 10 seasons.

Shane Victorino's seventh-inning grand slam propelled Boston to a 5-2 victory over the Tigers on Saturday night, clinching the AL Championship Series in six games and setting up a World Series rematch with the Cardinals.

The Red Sox will host Game 1 on Wednesday night against the team they swept in 2004 to end their 86-year title drought. The Cardinals won the NL pennant on Friday night by eliminating the Dodgers in six games.

"We've still got one more step," Victorino said.

With Cy Young Award favorite Max Scherzer on the mound, Detroit took a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning and held it until Boston loaded the bases on a double, a walk and an error by shortstop Jose Iglesias. Victorino lofted Jose Veras's 0-and-2 pitch over the Green Monster to set off a celebration in the Red Sox dugout and the Fenway Park stands.

Koji Uehara got the last three outs before the Red Sox poured out of the dugout to begin their now-familiar celebration on the mound.

"It's been a special ride," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said, "and we're still going."

Uehara was selected the series MVP after posting three saves and a win. Then he joked about pitching so well under pressure.

"To tell you the truth, I almost threw up," Uehara kidded through a translator.

It's the 13th AL pennant for the Red Sox and their first since 2007, when they swept the Rockies to win it all for the second time in four seasons. In 2004, Boston won Game 4 in St. Louis to clinch the title that ended generations of disappointment.

The latest trip comes one year after a last-place finish that forced the team to jettison its high-priced stars, rebuild the roster and bring in manager John Farrell. Victorino was one of the biggest additions, and he delivered Saturday as he did for much of the season.

"Since the first day of spring training there wasn't one person more important than the next," said outfielder and former Ray Jonny Gomes, also a newcomer this season. "We're all pulling in the same direction."

Scherzer got one out in the seventh but left after walking rookie Xander Bogaerts to put runners on first and second. Drew Smyly got Jacoby Ellsbury to hit a grounder up the middle, but it popped out of Iglesias' glove behind second base and everyone was safe.

Veras came in and quickly got ahead of Victorino. But he hung a curveball and Victorino sent it toward the 37-foot left-field wall, which had already knocked down two Red Sox line drives.

This one, Victorino's second career grand slam, left no doubt.

Scherzer and Clay Buchholz also matched up in Game 2, when the Tigers right-hander took a no-hitter and a 5-0 lead into the sixth. The Red Sox rallied against Detroit's bullpen, tying it on David Ortiz's eighth-inning grand slam and winning it on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's walkoff single through a drawn-in infield.

Both starters gave up hits in the first this time, but it remained scoreless until Bogaerts doubled off the Green Monster with two outs in the fifth and scored on Ellsbury's single.

But the Tigers took the lead on the bottom half, chasing Buchholz with a walk and Miguel Cabrera's single before Franklin Morales walked Prince Fielder on four pitches to load the bases with nobody out.

Victor Martinez lined one high off the Green Monster to make it 2-1, holding at first with a two-run single.

Comments
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

UPDATE, 10:30: In addition to the Cardinals, the Rockies and Mets are considered hot in pursuit of Rays closer Alex Colome. …. Keep hearing the Angels as a potential landing spot for 3B Evan Longoria if the Rays deal him. … Rays manager K...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays manager Kevin Cash on trade speculation, bullpen staffing, Yankees addition of Giancarlo Stanton

Rays manager Kevin Cash on trade speculation, bullpen staffing, Yankees addition of Giancarlo Stanton

Rays manager Kevin Cash was first up in the media room at the winter meetings today and here are a few up the more interesting things he said:* On trade speculation regarding their veterans such as Chris Archer and Evan Longoria: "I know there is a l...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tampa Bay Rays cornerstone Evan Longoria “somewhere in limbo” due to trade speculation

Tampa Bay Rays cornerstone Evan Longoria “somewhere in limbo” due to trade speculation

Franchise cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria considers his future with the Rays "somewhere in limbo" based on speculation he could be traded as part of a cost-cutting and rebuilding movement."I don't know what to think, really,'' Longoria told the Tampa Ba...
Published: 12/11/17
Veteran 3B Evan Longoria as uncertain as anyone about Rays’ plans

Veteran 3B Evan Longoria as uncertain as anyone about Rays’ plans

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Uncertain with all the talk about potentially rebuilding if the Rays would go as far as trading franchise cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria?So is he."I don’t know what to think, really,’’ Longoria said via text message Sunday night as t...
Updated: 10 hours ago
AL East life gets even tougher for Rays with Yankees acquiring slugger Giancarlo Stanton from Marlins

AL East life gets even tougher for Rays with Yankees acquiring slugger Giancarlo Stanton from Marlins

The Marlins apparently found a trade to Giancarlo Stanton's liking, reportedly striking a deal early Saturday to send the slugging outfielder to the Yankees.That's bad news for the Rays and the other AL East teams, who will now have to face Stanton &...
Published: 12/09/17
Rays radio broadcaster Andy Freed takes part in event supporting fight against ALS

Rays radio broadcaster Andy Freed takes part in event supporting fight against ALS

Tampa Bay Rays radio broadcaster Andy Freed was up early Saturday to meet up with the Bladerunners team in Clearwater at the ALS Association Florida Chapter's annual Ride, Run, Roll to Defeat ALS, supporting Mike Leist, a former history teacher at St...
Published: 12/09/17
Winter Meetings Preview: Ranking the Rays most likely to be dealt

Winter Meetings Preview: Ranking the Rays most likely to be dealt

Rays officials head to Disney for this week’s winter meetings admitting they don’t know what they’re doing. Wait — that’s not exactly right. It’s more that they don’t know what they’re going to do.Having spent months collecting info and discussing op...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/09/17
Dwight Gooden dons Santa suit, but scene is hardly festive

Dwight Gooden dons Santa suit, but scene is hardly festive

NEW YORK — In one sense, there was nothing unusual about what Dwight Gooden was doing Tuesday night. In the spirit of the holiday season, he had been summoned to dress like Santa Claus and, as a result, was decked out in a red suit and hat, a curly w...
Published: 12/08/17

Rays sue outgoing concessionaire over "sad history" of failures

The Tampa Bay Rays sued outgoing concessionaire Centerplate in U.S. District Court on Friday, alleging the company harmed the team’s reputation, damaged its facilities and did not pay a fair share of revenue as part of a "sad history of failing to fu...
Published: 12/08/17
Ohtani makes surprising decision in picking Angels; will face Rays in July at the Trop

Ohtani makes surprising decision in picking Angels; will face Rays in July at the Trop

Japanese two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani decided on his team Friday, and it was something of a surprise as he opted to sign with the Angels.The Mariners and Padres had emerged as the favorites from the seven teams that were chosen, from the full fiel...
Published: 12/08/17