Bedlam erupted on Lansdowne Street just after midnight, as closer Koji Uehara heeded the crowd’s calls for “One more strike! One more strike!” and ended the sixth and final game of the American League Championship Series with a stikeout.
With their Red Sox heading to the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, thousands of jubilant fans streamed down Yawkey Way, chanting, high-fiving, and bumping chests through the watchful, but largely passive, presence of a police phalanx.
Several fans high-fived smiling Boston police officers, two of whom agreed to a quick photo with newly minted Sox fan Orsola Daletto.
Daletto, a native of Westchester County, N.Y., moved two months ago to Lowell and quickly adapted, she said.
“I had no choice,” said Daletto, 28. “Everyone else around me was all Red Sox and Patriots.”
Saturday’s game against the Detroit Tigers was the first Red Sox game for Daletto, who admitted she almost made a serious mistake.
“I was going to wear my Yankees shirt, but I thought, ‘I am going to get killed,’ so I went with a Varitek shirt,” she said, gesturing to her T-shirt.
Outside of Jillian’s on Ipswich Street, one young man in a black T-shirt was handcuffed and led to a police wagon, but police could not provide details on the detainment.
Several blocks to the south, the police presence had dwindled to a couple of officers at the intersection of Hemenway and Westland. Though the streets were filled, there was no massive outpouring akin to the revelry in 2004. Fans’ cheers and the steady thump of the spinning blades of helicopters overhead punctuated the night air.
Before the game, police Superintendent in Chief Daniel Linskey said that as a precaution, police had brought in “plenty of additional resources,” including State Police, to secure Fenway Park and the neighborhood.
Police erected barricades around the ballpark and did not allow anyone to enter the area starting at about the seventh inning. They did not plan to reopen the area until most of the crowd has dispersed.
Prospects for a victory took a sharp turn for the better just before 11:30 p.m., when Shane Victorino launched a grand slam over the Green Monster to give the Sox a 5-2 lead.
On Lansdowne Street, fans leapt with excitement, while people in the crowd clustered outside the window of WEEI sports radio exchanged vigorous high-fives and manly one-armed hugs. Even bystanders across the street, unable to see what had happened, cheered and shouted.
Grinning fans soon began streaming out the Yawkey Way gate, some of them joining a crowd outside the Cask ‘n Flagon chanting “Let’s go Red Sox.”
As the game wound down, a solitary Detroit fan walked out of the gate, hands in his pockets, as a group of five Red Sox fans heckled him with shouts of “Bankrupt!”
Mike Green, 51, of Chicago, came to watch the game with friends in Boston. He stood on the sidewalk of Brookline Avenue watching exuberant fans ride through the crowd on each other’s shoulders.
The party started when Victorino hit the grand slam, he said. “It just turned the whole stadium upside down,” he said. “It went from nail-biting to champagne.”