For the second time in the American League Championship Series, Detroit’s Max Scherzer left with a lead only to watch a reliever give up a grand slam – this time to Shane Victorino to give the Red Sox a 5-2 win and send St. Louis to Boston for the opening of the World Series Wednesday.
The World Series will pit the top two offenses in baseball as the Red Sox score an adjusted 5.27 runs per game to 5.21 for the Cardinals once adjusting for ballparks and use of the DH.
To get there, they had to beat the top two pitching rotations in baseball and clinch a Game 6 going up against the best pitcher in their respective leagues. The Cardinals blew out Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers on Friday.
Scherzer had complete command of a change-up, slider and mid-90s fastball – using all three at various times as his strikeout pitch in a masterful pitching outing. In Game Two Scherzer left after seven masterful innings only to see his relievers blow a five-run lead.
He had to throw more than 50 pitchers in the first three innings, but then settled down to get the next five outs quickly before 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts doubled to deep center and scored on a Jacoby Ellsbury single to make it 1-0 Boston after the fifth inning.
In addition to great pitching, Scherzer was very lucky on two drives that each missed being a home run by less than a foot. Dustin Pedroia drove a would be three-run homer less than a foot foul before grounding into a double play, and Jonny Gomes drove a ball just below the top of the 37-foot high green monster to settle for a double.
However, the Tigers responded in the top of the sixth inning to give Scherzer the lead over Clay Buchholz. Torii Hunter walked, the hobbling Miguel Cabrera singled, and then the struggling Prince Fielder walked to load the bases.
Victor Martinez then drove a ball toward the green monster for a long single that scored two runs.
However, Fielder’s struggles continued – this time on the base paths – as he was trapped between third and home and allowed a play to turn into a double play that ended up preventing any other runs from scoring.
The Red Sox had the third best pitching rotation (50.14 Value Add) to the sixth best for the Cardinals (47.38) at Value Add Baseball, as the two best hitting teams beat the two best pitching teams in the Tigers (53.12) and Dodgers (51.03).