(UPI) -- The Red Sox head home to Boston with a 3-2 advantage in the American League Championship Series over Detroit, just one win away from writing their ticket to the World Series.
With a 4-3 victory over the Tigers at Comerica Park Thursday night, the Red Sox have two games to win only one. And having scored more than one run against the Tigers starter for the first time all series, Dustin Pedroia may yet get to keep the little bit of hair left on his head.
"We feel good about it," the second baseman said after Thursday's game. "But we're not going to relax by any means. We've got to come out and play the game like we have all year."
But they'll first have to get through Tigers ace and Cy Young-contender Max Scherzer, who wiped the field with Boston's hitters when he faced them in Game Two.
The Red Sox managed just one run through seven innings against Scherzer, while Clay Buchholtz dropped five runs to Detroit's potent lineup.
"There were a couple of innings I let the ball get out of the zone and they hit it out of the park," Buchholz said of his performance last Sunday. "I need to minimize the damage a little bit better."
Still, the Sox came up on top, thanks to a grand slam from designated hitter David Ortiz in the eighth and a quirky ninth from Detroit's defense that set the table for Jarrod Saltalamacchia to walk off the winning run.
With a day off Friday to travel, both bullpens will be fresh, and Boston will be hoping to lay out the red carpet for closer Koji Uehara, who continued his impressive season with a five-out save in Game Five.
But the player with the biggest impact on Saturday's game -- and Sunday's, if the Tigers force a Game Seven -- may not end up being a player at all.
The advantage of taking it home to that "lyric little bandbox of a park," with its short right field wall, its Green Monster and the Fenway faithful, cannot be dismissed.
Boston earned home field advantage by coming away from the 2013 season with the best record in the American League, and that advantage would endure into the World Series, thanks to an AL victory at the All Star Game in July.
And it's an advantage that feels even bigger in Boston: The Red Sox owned a best-in-the-majors 53-28 home record this year. They're hoping they can add at least one more this week -- and then a few more after that.