In the first game of the 1977 National League Championship Series between the Phillies and Dodgers, the nearly 56,000 fans packed into Dodger Stadium were on hand to witness a postseason first: a game-tying grand slam. With the Phillies in possession of a 5-1 lead in the seventh inning and holding the advantage of having Steve Carlton in charge of nursing that lead, a walk, a single and a walk brought Ron Cey to the plate. After the Dodgers third baseman worked the Phillies left-hander to a 3-2 count, Cey launched the eighth pitch of the at-bat into the air and into history. There wouldn't be another game-tying slam for more than a quarter-century, and when it did take place, it was quickly overshadowed.
In Game 3 of the 2004 American League Division Series, the Angels' Vladimir Guerrero connected on an 0-1 pitch in the seventh from Boston's Mike Timlin and gave the Halos a much-needed four-run salvo in a must-win (for them) contest. But Guerrero's heroics only ended up setting the stage for a man who has made an ongoing career out of late-inning drama in the postseason: David Ortiz. Three innings after Guerrero had evened the score at 6, Ortiz came to the plate with Pokey Reese on first and connected for a series-ending homer. With that home run and his latest big-drama big fly in the 2013 postseason, Ortiz now has six career hits in the seventh inning or later that have tied the game or given his team the lead. Only Pete Rose and Bernie Williams have produced more.
2013 ALCS: Tigers at Red Sox
Down, 5-1, and down to their final four outs, the Red Sox got an eighth-inning grand slam from Ortiz and then a ninth-inning, game-ending single from Jarrod Saltalamacchia to defeat the Tigers, 6-5, on Sunday night at Fenway Park. With the victory, Boston evened the series at one game apiece.
Ortiz's slam was the first for the Red Sox in postseason play since J.D. Drew hit one in Game 6 of the 2007 ALCS, and the fourth overall. Troy O'Leary (Game 5, 1999 ALDS) and Johnny Damon (Game 7, 2004 ALCS) are responsible for the two before Drew's four-bagger.
Ortiz's slam was the third to tie a postseason game, following Cey's seventh-inning blast in Game 1 of the 1977 NLCS and Guerrero's seventh-inning shot in Game 3 of the 2004 ALDS. The slugger's slam -- the 55th in postseason play -- was also the fifth for a designated hitter, and the first in more than a decade.
• 1982 ALCS, Game 4: the Angels' Don Baylor off the Brewers' Moose Haas
• '92 World Series, Game 5: the Braves' Lonnie Smith against the Blue Jays' Jack Morris
• '95 ALDS, Game 4: the Mariners' Edgar Martinez off the Yankees' John Wetteland
• '99 ALCS, Game 4: the Yankees' Ricky Ledee (pinch-hitting for the DH) against the Red Sox's Rod Beck
• 2013 ALCS, Game 2: the Red Sox's Ortiz off the Tigers' Joaquin Benoit.
Ortiz's slam -- his only hit of the night (to go along with a walk) -- gives him postseason totals of 143 total bases, 15 home runs and 54 RBIs. Ortiz is ninth all time in total bases, while for just LCS play, he is sixth in total bases (with 70), trailing Manny Ramirez, Derek Jeter, Williams, Albert Pujols and George Brett.
Ortiz is also tied for ninth in home runs, with his 15 matching Babe Ruth's total. In the LCS, Big Papi's eight homers tie him with Steve Garvey, Carlos Beltran, Nelson Cruz and Miguel Cabrera (who hit one on Sunday) for fifth. That quintet trails Ramirez, Pujols, Brett and Williams.
Additionally, Ortiz ranks fifth in postseason RBIs. In the LCS, his 30 RBIs are third most, behind totals from Williams and Ramirez.
Salty finishes what Papi starts
Saltalamacchia's game-ending single was the 120th walk-off hit in postseason play, and the 63rd game-ending single, to go along with the 11 doubles and 46 home runs.
The catcher's series-tying knock was also the fourth walk-off hit of the 2013 postseason. Those four are the most in any year since 2009, when there were four. The last postseason to have more than four was 2004, when there were six (including three by Ortiz).
The walk-off hit was the 11th by a Red Sox player -- the second most for any franchise, behind the Yankees' 19. Boston's previous 10:
• 1915 WS, G3: Duffy Lewis single in the ninth
• 1916 WS, G2: Del Gainer single in the 14th
• '75 WS, G6: Carlton Fisk home run in the 12th
• 2003 ALDS, G3: Trot Nixon home run in the 11th
• '04 ALDS, G3: Ortiz home run in the 10th
• '04 ALCS, G4: Ortiz home run in the 12th
• '04 ALCS, G5: Ortiz single in the 14th
• '07 ALDS, G2: Ramirez home run in the ninth
• '08 ALDS, G4: Jed Lowrie single in the ninth
• '08 ALCS, G5: Drew single in the ninth
Scherzer's valiant effort goes for naught
Tigers starter Max Scherzer got a no-decision in an effort that saw him -- in addition to fanning 13 batters -- yield two hits and two walks with a run in seven innings.
Pitchers with at least 13 strikeouts in an ALCS game
|M. Mussina||G3, 1997||Orioles||15||Loss|
|R. Clemens||G4, 2000||Yankees||15||Win|
|J. Coleman||G3, 1972||Tigers||14||Win|
|M. Boddicker||G2, 1983||Orioles||14||Win|
|C. Lee||G3, 2010||Rangers||13||Win|
The 13 K's tie Scherzer for the 13th most in postseason history and represent the second-highest total for any Tigers pitcher, behind Joe Coleman's 14 in Game 3 of the 1972 ALCS. For any ALCS contest, the 13 K's are tied for the fifth most.
Scherzer is the 17th starting pitcher (and third Tigers hurler in the team's past three games) to have a postseason line with at least 10 strikeouts and no more than two hits allowed. These 17 hurlers have a record of 12-0. It is the fourth time a pitcher with this line has seen his team lose. The other three scenarios were witnessed by Nolan Ryan in Game 5 of the 1986 NLCS, Mike Mussina in Game 6 of the 1997 ALCS, and Homer Bailey in Game 3 of the 2012 NLDS.
Scherzer -- who fanned 11 in Game 1 of the 2013 ALDS -- is the sixth pitcher to have multiple efforts of at least 11 K's in one postseason. Tom Seaver (1973) Kevin Brown ('98), Randy Johnson (2001), Cliff Lee ('10), and Justin Verlander ('12) are the others.
With Scherzer's line, Tigers starters have produced five double-digit strikeout games this postseason -- already the most ever.
• 2013 Tigers (5): Scherzer (2), Verlander (2), Anibal Sanchez (1)
• 1965 Dodgers (3); Sandy Koufax (2), Don Drysdale (1)
• '98 Padres (3): Brown (2), Sterling Hitchcock (1)
• 2001 D-backs (3): Johnson (2), Curt Schilling (1)
• 2010 Giants (3): Tim Lincecum (2), Jonathan Sanchez (1)
• '10 Rangers (3): Cliff Lee (3)
• '12 Tigers (3): Verlander (2), Scherzer (1)
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.