Jarrod Saltalamacchia, center, is mobbed by his teammates after his RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday gave the Red Sox a 6-5 win in Game 2 of the ALCS.
By Kevin Thomas
DETROIT — If the Detroit Tigers took Sunday’s loss to heart, they certainly hid their devastation well Monday afternoon.
Before their workout at Comerica Park, the sound emanating from the Tigers’ clubhouse was laughter.
“We’re trained to have amnesia,” veteran right fielder Torii Hunter said. His Tigers and the Boston Red Sox are tied 1-1 in the American League Championship Series, after Boston’s stunning 6-5 comeback win Sunday.
Hunter could even joke about the signature play of Sunday’s game – the David Ortiz grand slam that landed in the Red Sox bullpen as Hunter flipped over the right-field wall trying to reach it.
A photo captured a policeman in the bullpen raising his arms while Hunter’s legs were in the air.
“That’s all right. Shows good effort,” Hunter said before going into his typical comedic routine.
“The cop is supposed to be protect and serve. This son-of-a-gun has his hands up,” Hunter said, a smile never leaving his face. “If I ever see him again … Help me, then cheer.”
Maybe Red Sox fans think Ortiz’s slam and Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s walk-off single will turn this series Boston’s way.
On Monday, there certainly was a little lift in the Red Sox steps.
“I wish we could be playing (Monday) after what happened (Sunday),” Boston catcher David Ross said.
But neither manager sees a momentum shift.
“I don’t look for any carryover,” Tigers Manager Jim Leyland said. “I didn’t see any carryover with the Boston Red Sox (after Saturday’s game). They lost a 1-0 game they probably should have won.
“We probably should have won that game (Sunday night). They probably should have won the first one. We’re probably exactly where we’re supposed to be.”
Boston Manager John Farrell, said “we certainly gained some confidence in the last couple of innings (Sunday).
“(But) Game 2 is behind us. It’s been the beauty of this team all year long, focus on today’s game and not be living in the past.”
One reason why Detroit can so easily move on, and why Boston needs to refocus, is the Tigers’ starting pitcher.
No momentum switch will help the Red Sox make contact with Justin Verlander’s high-90s fastball – or his slider, curve or change-up, for that matter.
Boston fans may be joyous, but there is a cold, hard fact looming large in this series: Against Detroit starting pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer, the Red Sox have two hits and one run in 13 innings.
Now along comes Verlander, the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner.
“The work of Sanchez and Scherzer has been nothing short of spectacular,” Farrell said. “We feel like Verlander is going to be a similar, if not more difficult challenge than what we’ve faced already.”
Verlander put up solid, though unspectacular numbers for him: 13-12, 3.46 ERA.
“We’re not robots,” Verlander said. “But I really feel like the last month of the season I’ve started to get it to click.”
Verlander’s ERA in September was 2.27. In two playoff starts against the A’s, Verlander was 2-0, allowing no runs and six hits over 15 innings while striking out 21.
What will Boston’s approach be against Verlander?
“Same as it is every day,” third baseman Will Middlebrooks said. “Get a good pitch to hit and hit it. But some days you get more good pitches to hit.”
Tuesday does not figure to be one of those days. The Red Sox need to hope Verlander is not dominating with his robot-like precision. Because if Boston can’t figure Verlander out, the momentum and series lead goes back to Detroit.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: