The Boston Red Sox are going back to the World Series for the third time in 10 seasons.
Shane Victorino's seventh-inning grand slam propelled host Boston to a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night, clinching the A.L. championship series in six games and setting up a World Series rematch with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Red Sox will host Game 1 on Wednesday night against the team they swept in 2004 to end their 86-year title drought. The Cardinals won the N.L. pennant on Friday night by eliminating the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.
"We've still got one more step," Victorino said.
With 21-game winner Max Scherzer on the mound, Detroit took a 2-1 lead in the sixth and held it until Boston loaded the bases on a double, a walk and an error by shortstop Jose Iglesias. Victorino lofted an 0-2 pitch from Jose Veras over the Green Monster to set off a celebration in the Red Sox dugout and in the Fenway Park stands.
Junichi Tazawa got one out for the win, Craig Breslow pitched a scoreless eighth, and Koji Uehara got the last three outs before the Red Sox poured out of the dugout to begin their now-familiar celebration on the mound.
"It's been a special ride," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said, "and we're still going."
Uehara was selected the series MVP after posting three saves and a win. Then he joked about pitching so well under pressure.
"To tell you the truth, I almost threw up," Uehara kidded through a translator.
It's the 13th A.L. pennant for the Red Sox and their first since 2007, when they swept the Colorado Rockies to win it all for the second time in four seasons.
The latest trip comes one year after a last-place finish that forced the team to jettison its high-priced stars, rebuild the roster and bring in manager John Farrell.
"Since the first day of spring training there wasn't one person more important than the next," said outfielder Jonny Gomes, also a newcomer this season. "We're all pulling in the same direction."
Scherzer got one out in the seventh but left after walking rookie Xander Bogaerts to put runners on first and second. Drew Smyly got Jacoby Ellsbury to hit a grounder up the middle, but it popped out of Iglesias' glove behind second base and everyone was safe.
Veras came in and quickly got ahead of Victorino. But he hung a curveball and Victorino sent it toward the 37-foot left-field wall, which had already knocked down two Red Sox line drives.
Mariners: The wife of Seattle outfielder Carlos Peguero has been accused of making $180,000 in unauthorized purchases with a debit card belonging to another person in the Mariners organization, federal court documents showed.
Citing an anonymous source familiar with the investigation, The Seattle Times reported Saturday that the unnamed victims described in court documents are star pitcher Felix Hernandez and his wife.
Maria Jacqueline Peguero, 22, was charged earlier this month with three counts of wire fraud, according to the federal court documents. An agent with the U.S. Secret Service says in the court filings that Peguero made 60 unauthorized purchases in 2012 from Saks Fifth Avenue.