Red Sox win ALCS, advance to World Series

BOSTON (AP) - Jose Veras walked ever so slowly off the mound.

Another grand slam for the Boston Red Sox against a Detroit reliever. Another season without a World Series title for Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and the starter-rich Tigers.

Veras served up Shane Victorino's go-ahead slam that cleared the Green Monster in the seventh inning, and the Red Sox beat Detroit 5-2 to take the AL championship series in six games Saturday night.

Six days earlier, David Ortiz's grand slam off closer Joaquin Benoit tied Game 2 in the eighth inning, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia's single in the ninth won it 6-5.

Detroit is loaded with starting pitching: Scherzer is this year's AL Cy Young Award favorite, Verlander was the 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner, and Anibal Sanchez led the league in ERA this season.

Throw in Doug Fister, who won Game 4 against Boston, and the Tigers certainly got the outstanding performance they were counting on from their starters in this series. But they were betrayed by a shaky bullpen.

Scherzer pitched very well in both his ALCS starts but was gone by the time the bullpen blew it on grand slams.

He also has the dubious distinction of having started all three season-ending games for the Tigers the past three years.

In 2011, he allowed six runs in 2 1-3 innings of a 15-5 loss to the Texas Rangers in Game 6 of the ALCS.

Last year, he gave up three runs in 6 1-3 innings during Game 4 of the World Series before the San Francisco Giants won 4-3 with a run against Phil Coke in the 10th.

And on Saturday night, Scherzer could only watch after leaving with runners at first and second and one out with the Tigers leading 2-1 in the seventh.

First, reliever Drew Smyly got Jacoby Ellsbury to ground to Jose Iglesias up the middle, but the slick-fielding rookie shortstop booted the ball for an error. That loaded the bases.

Veras came in and got ahead of Victorino 0-2. But then Veras served up a hanging curve that Victorino lofted into the seats, sending the Fenway Park crowd into a frenzy.

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