Former Boston Red Sox slugger David Oritz posted an Instagram video of his epic grand slam against the Tigers in the 2013 ALCS.
It doesn’t quite feel like October with the Boston Red Sox sitting out of the postseason but David Ortiz is here to remind us of better days.
This week marks the six-year anniversary of Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS against the Detroit Tigers when Ortiz provided one of the most memorable postseason moments in franchise history. To commemorate the occasion, Big Papi posted a video on Instagram of his series-altering grand slam.
The Red Sox trailed 5-1 in the eighth inning and were in danger of dropping the first two games of the series at Fenway. Max Scherzer shut down their lineup over seven dominant innings of one-run ball that included 13 strikeouts.
Clearly, the Tigers should have stuck with their workhorse. Detroit used three different relievers to record two outs in the eighth while loading the bases. Right-hander Joaquin Benoit, an elite setup arm with reverse splits, was then called in to face Ortiz.
One of the best clutch hitters in postseason history lived up to his reputation by crushing the first pitch he saw from Benoit into the right-field bullpen for a game-tying grand slam. The image of Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter tumbling head-first over the wall, his legs in the air while Boston Police officer Steve Horgan triumphantly raised his arms in the background, will forever be ingrained in our memories.
Jonny Gomes would lead off the ninth inning with an infield single and advance to second on a throwing error. Rick Porcello uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Gomes to scamper to third, putting him in position to score on Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s walk-off base hit.
The thrilling victory evened a series that the Red Sox would end up winning in six games to advance to the World Series. Would they be crowned champions that year if they had lost Game 2? According to MLB.com, teams that take an 0-2 lead in a best-of-seven series win nearly 85 percent of the time. No team has ever lost the first two games of an ALCS at home and rallied back to win the series.
Sure, Boston could have won a Game 7 at Fenway but history wouldn’t be on their side. We can’t understate the importance of Ortiz’s epic grand slam.
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This year’s postseason has a notable callback to that 2013 ALCS. Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez, now teammates with the Washington Nationals, both held the St. Louis Cardinals to one hit over 7+ innings in the first two games of the NLCS. They are the only pitchers in MLB postseason history with multiple 6+ inning efforts allowing one hit or fewer. The last time they did so? When they were teammates with the Tigers in the first two games of the 2013 ALCS against the Red Sox.
The ALCS has also provided a historical link to Ortiz. Houston’s Carlos Correa joined Ortiz as the only players in MLB postseason history with multiple walk-off hits against the same opponent. His 11th-inning homer in Game 2 against the Yankees evened this year’s series in dramatic fashion. Correa also had a walk-off double in Game 2 of the 2017 ALCS against New York. Ortiz did it in Games 4 and 5 of the 2004 ALCS. The achievements of both players coming at the expense of the Yankees makes it even sweeter.
Red Sox fans are disappointed that their team isn’t in the playoffs this year but seeing Ortiz working as an analyst for the FOX postseason coverage is a nice consolation considering everything he’s been through this year. It’s always great seeing Big Papi on television and his presence helps remind us of the many incredible moments he provided on the postseason stage.