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Ortiz changes the ALCS with one swing

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  October 14, 2013 01:30 AM

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Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

Fans streaming out of Fenway Park were chanting, "Let's Go Red Sox!" after a remarkable 6-5 victory against the Detroit Tigers.

"Wow," said owner John Henry, who stood off the side in the clubhouse in the postgame tumult.

Down by four runs, the Sox tied the game on a grand slam by David Ortiz in the eighth inning then won it when Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled to drive in Jonny Gomes in the ninth.

“When you back us into a wall, you either do two things: cave or fight. We’re gonna fight,” Pedroia said.

The Sox now head for Detroit for Game 3 on Tuesday afternoon. On the verge of being down 0-2 and facing Justin Verlander, there is new life. John Lackey gets the start for the Sox.

The Sox had scored one run through the 16 innings in the series, going 3 for 51 at the plate with 30 strikeouts. Detroit starter Max Scherzer allowed one run on two hits over seven innings and struck out 13.

Then Detroit used four relievers in the eighth inning and each put a man on base. It was Joaquin Benoit who allowed Ortiz's slam.

Ortiz swung at the first pitch, a changeup away, and was strong enough to pull it into the Red Sox bullpen in right field for his first career grand slam and the fourth in Red Sox history.

Right fielder Torii Hunter tumbled over the wall trying to make the catch as Boston police officer Steve Horgan raised his arms in joy. Bullpen catcher Mani Martinez, who was warming up Ryan Dempster, casually turned and caught the ball.

It was bedlam at Fenway and the crowd kept cheering until Ortiz emerged from the dugout and tipped his helmet to them.

“My idea wasn’t to go out and hit a grand slam,” Ortiz said. “If I was telling you about thinking about hitting a grand slam, I’d be lying to you now.”

It was the 15th postseason home run for Ortiz, his first slam. It was the fourth postseason slam in Sox history, the first since J.D. Drew against Cleveland in Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS.

Hunter compared Ortiz to a hot stove

"Your mom will let you touch it once, let you burn yourself so you won’t never do it again," he said.

There was still a game to win and it took only two batters in the ninth. Jonny Gomes, gain the catalyst, broke his bat and dove into first with an infield single. Jose Iglesias made an ill-advised throw that hopped past Prince Fielder and Gomes was awarded second base.

Salty nearly fouled out to Fielder near the stands but he missed the ball. A wild pitch moved Gomes up before Salty singled to left. It was bedlam at Fenway as the players burst from the dugout with their 12th walk-off win of the season.

Off to Detroit. Thanks to everybody for reading tonight.

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