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Sunday, October 20, 2013
Red Sox handle curves en route to pennant

By ESPN Stats & Information


Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY SportsShane Victorino's seventh inning grand slam propelled the Red Sox into the World Series.
The Boston Red Sox advanced to its 12th World Series in franchise history and first since sweeping the Colorado Rockies in 2007 by virtue of a 5-2 win against the Detroit Tigers in Game 6 of the ALCS.

This sets the table for a World Series between the Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals for the fourth time. The Cardinals won the first two meetings in 1946 and 1947 (both in seven games). Boston swept the Cardinals in 2004 to famously win its first World Series since 1918.

It will be the first World Series featuring teams with the best regular season records in the American and National Leagues since 1999 when the New York Yankees played the Atlanta Braves.

The pennant is even sweeter considering this was a last-place team a year ago. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Red Sox are the seventh team since 1990 to reach the World Series following a season in which they finished in last place.

FLYIN’ HAWAIIAN BREAKS SLUMP IN GRAND WAY
The winning hit for Boston came off the bat of Shane Victorino, who hit the go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning to give the Red Sox a 5-2 lead. At the time, Victorino was mired in a 2-for-23 slump).

He’s the eighth player in MLB postseason history to hit a go-ahead grand slam in the seventh inning or later and the first in baseball history with multiple go-ahead grand slams in the postseason.

Victorino’s hit came on an 0-2 curveball from Jose Veras. He might have had an indication of what was to come as over the last three regular seasons, Veras had thrown 171 pitches on 0-2 counts, with 81 percent of them being curveballs.

That’s the highest curveball usage on an 0-2 count in the majors over this span (minimum 100 pitches thrown).

Boston is the first team in MLB history to hit two game-tying/go-ahead grand slams in the seventh inning or later in a single postseason (David Ortiz hit the other one in Game 2 of this series).

ALCS FACTS
• Koji Uehara is the third relief pitcher to win the ALCS MVP, joining Mariano Rivera in 2003 and Dennis Eckersley in 1988.

• The Red Sox improved to 6-0 all-time in ALCS Game 6s and won their first best-of-7 postseason series after being tied 2-2.

In this series, Uehara went 1-0 with three saves while allowing no runs on four hits in six innings pitched.

• In relief of Max Scherzer, the Tigers bullpen threw 2⅔ innings, allowing seven earned runs on six hits (including those two grand slams).

• Prince Fielder went 4-for-22 (.182) with five strikeouts and no home runs or RBI in this series.