Ortiz's grand slam powers improbable win

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s walk-off single capped an improbable Red Sox comeback.

Trailing 5-1 and five outs away from facing a 2-0 deficit in the ALCS, the Boston Red Sox win probability stood at 3.8 percent.

Then everything changed with one swing.

David Ortiz hit a first-pitch changeup from Joaquin Benoit for a game-tying grand slam. It was the first game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning or later in postseason history.

It was Ortiz’s fifth career go-ahead or game-tying hit in the eighth inning or later of the postseason, one shy of tying Bernie Williams and Pete Rose for the most all-time.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia would drive in Jonny Gomes in the ninth for his first career postseason walk-off hit and the first by a Red Sox catcher since Carlton Fisk's home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

Just how unlikely was this comeback?

After a four-run top of the sixth, the Detroit Tigers led 5-0. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, teams with a lead of five or more runs in the postseason were 459-14 (.970).

Overcame 4+ Run Deficit in 8th Inning or Later to Win
MLB Postseason History

Max Scherzer had been staked to a 5-run lead 24 times in his career (including postseason). His teams were 24-0 in those games.

The Red Sox became only the sixth team in postseason history to overcome a four-run deficit in the eighth inning or later to win.

Red Sox flip the switch

Making the comeback even more unlikely was the fact that prior to the four-run eighth inning, the Red Sox had only three hits in their last 16 innings.

After being no-hit by Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers for 8 1/3 innings in Game 1, Red Sox hitters were held hitless by Max Scherzer for 5 2/3 innings Sunday in Game 2.

The Red Sox became the first team in postseason history to be held hitless through 5 innings in consecutive games. During the last four regular seasons, the Red Sox played 324 games at Fenway Park. Not once were they no-hit through five innings.

Strikeouts piling up

The Tigers' loss overshadowed another dominant performance by Max Scherzer. Scherzer became the fifth pitcher in postseason history with 13 or more strikeouts and two or fewer hits allowed.

Scherzer’s no-hit bid of 5 2/3 innings tied the longest of his career. It was his third career postseason no-hit bid of at least 5 IP (2011 ALDS and 2012 ALCS). According to Elias, he’s the first pitcher in postseason history with three career no-hit bids of at least five innings.

The Tigers finished Game 2 with 15 strikeouts after striking out 17 Red Sox hitters in Game 1. Their 32 strikeouts are the most by a pitching staff in consecutive games in postseason history.

Day of comebacks in Boston

Just four hours prior to the Red Sox pulling off their comeback, the Patriots had one of their own, stunning the Saints on a Tom Brady TD pass to Kenbrell Thompkins with five seconds remaining.

When the Saints punted up four points with 1:20 remaining, the Patriots had a win probability of just 5.3 percent.