Holy October baseball. David Ortiz, Boston's Big Papi, furthered his postseason legend in the eight-inning of Sunday night's ALCS Game 2. With the bases loaded, two outs and the Boston Red Sox facing a 5-1 deficit, Ortiz clobbered the first pitch he saw from Detroit Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit over the right-field fence and into the Red Sox bullpen.
Grand slam. Tie game. Big Papi, a hero forever.
The grand slam keyed a dramatic comeback victory for the Red Sox, who won 6-5 after a Jarrod Saltalamacchia walk-off single scored Jonny Gomes in the ninth.
The Tigers' Torii Hunter was just an inch away from stealing away hero status — and the homer. He leaped after the ball, falling into the bullpen when it was just out of his reach. Hunter appeared to injure himself after his amazing effort. But Hunter, a veteran who is looked at as a clubhouse leader for the Tigers, stayed in the game.
Ortiz's grand slam changed the narrative of Game 2 in a single swing. The Red Sox were stifled before the eighth inning. Tigers starter Max Scherzer had a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He struck out 13 Red Sox batters, but was pulled after the seventh inning.
That's when the Red Sox, down 5-1, came to life. They loaded the bases against three different Tigers relief pitchers, then manager Jim Leyland gave an early call to Benoit, his closer, with two outs and Ortiz coming up.
The Tigers' lead wouldn't last another pitch. What looked like a sure-thing 2-0 ALCS lead for the Tigers just a couple innings earlier, vanished into the Boston night with Big Papi's big swing.