Final, Tigers 7-3: The Red Sox scored a run in the ninth inning, but it was hardly enough. The Tigers even up the ALCS with a 7-3 victory in Game 4.
Xander Bogaerts led off the ninth inning with a ground-rule double down the right field line, which will certainly fuel talks about whether he should start Game 5 over Stephen Drew or Will Middlebrooks. Jacoby Ellsbury knocked in Bogaerts with an RBI triple.
Ellsbury hit a ball down the first base line that kicked off the bag, sailed past Prince Fielder and traveled into the right field corner. Joaquin Benoit managed to nail down the ninth inning, though. Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia struck out, and David Ortiz flied out to right field to end the ballgame.
The Red Sox’ offense finished with 12 hits, but struggled to produce runs. Boston went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base. Ellsbury led the way with four hits.
The Tigers’ offense, meanwhile, broke out with a shuffled lineup. Austin Jackson, who was dropped to eighth in the order after starting the postseason 3-for-33, reached base four times and had two RBIs. Torii Hunter (batting leadoff for the first time since 1999) and Miguel Cabrera (batting second) each chipped in two RBIs as well.
The Tigers grabbed control of Game 4 in the second inning, when Jake Peavy struggled to find the strike zone as Detroit grabbed a 5-0 lead. The Tigers also benefited from a botched double play in the inning, although it would have been a close play at first.
Peavy gave up seven earned runs on five hits and three walks in three innings of work. Brandon Workman, Ryan Dempster, Franklin Morales and Felix Doubront combined to keep Detroit’s offense in check from there, but it was too late. Enough damage had already been done, as Doug Fister gave up just one run on eight hits over six innings while striking out seven.
Jon Lester and Anibal Sanchez — Game 1’s starters — will toe the rubber in Game 5 in Detroit. The winner will fly back to Boston one win shy of a World Series berth, while the loser will be pushed to the brink of elimination. The action will get started at 8:07 p.m.
Good night, everyone.
End 8th, Tigers 7-2: To the ninth inning, we go. The Tigers are three outs away from evening up the ALCS.
Felix Doubront pitched a scoreless eighth inning to keep Boston’s deficit at five runs. The Red Sox are going to need a miracle, but Boston’s bullpen has done a nice job of holding down Detroit’s offense since Jake Peavy exited in the fourth inning.
Doubront hit Alex Avila in the elbow to begin the eighth inning, but then got Omar Infante to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play.
Austin Jackson walked and Jose Iglesias singled to make things interesting with two outs. Doubront exited the inning by striking out Torii Hunter.
Mid 8th, Tigers 7-2: The Red Sox certainly won’t quit until the final out. However, it looks like the Tigers are going to even up this ALCS.
The Red Sox will need a miracle in the ninth inning after failing to produce any offense in the eighth inning. Jonny Gomes, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew went down without a whisper against Drew Smyly.
Gomes pinch hit for Daniel Nava. He led off with a sky-high popup to the left side that Jose Iglesias reeled in once it finally reentered the atmosphere.
Saltalamacchia struck out swinging, and Drew lifted a lazy fly ball to left field that Don Kelly snagged on the run.
Felix Doubront will be the new Boston pitcher in the eighth inning. He’ll look to keep the Red Sox’ deficit at five runs with Alex Avila, Omar Infante and Austin Jackson digging in.
End 7th, Tigers 7-2: The Red Sox’ bullpen has done a nice job of keeping the Tigers at seven runs.
Franklin Morales entered the game in the seventh inning and worked around a two-out single to keep Detroit off the scoreboard.
Miguel Cabrera, who has two hits and two RBIs, gave one a ride to right field to lead off the inning. Shane Victorino raced back to make a nice running grab just before the warning track.
Victor Martinez singled into left field past a diving Xander Bogaerts with two down, but Morales got Don Kelly — who replaced Jhonny Peralta in left field — to pop out to Dustin Pedroia in shallow right field to end the inning.
Mid 7th, Tigers 7-2: The Red Sox produced a run in the seventh inning, but they’ll need more than that to get back in this game.
Shane Victorino doubled home Jacoby Ellsbury to cut Detroit’s lead to 7-2 in the seventh.
Drew Smyly retired David Ortiz and Mike Napoli upon entering with Victorino on second base and one out. Ortiz grounded into the shift on the right side, and Napoli popped out to Prince Fielder to strand Victorino at third base.
10:37 p.m., Tigers 7-2: Shane Victorino made it a five-run game with a double into the gap in left-center field.
Al Alburquerque rebounded to retire Dustin Pedroia, although it was a very close play at first base. Pedroia hit a ground ball to Miguel Cabrera at third base, and Cabrera looked toward Victorino at second base before tossing to first. That moment of hesitation was almost enough for Pedroia to reach safely, but Cabrera compensated for it by firing a missile to first.
Drew Smyly now enters with David Ortiz coming up.
10:32 p.m., Tigers 7-1: Jacoby Ellsbury has three hits. Ellsbury singled into left field to lead off the seventh inning, and Phil Coke will exit after one batter.
Al Alburquerque will be the new Tigers pitcher with Shane Victorino coming up.
End 6th, Tigers 7-1: Austin Jackson had been 3-for-33 in the postseason before Wednesday. He’s 2-for-2 with a walk, two RBIs and a run scored in Game 4.
Jackson greeted Ryan Dempster with a leadoff single in the sixth. You can tell that Jackson’s teammates are ecstatic for the outfielder, as it had really been a struggle before this game.
Jose Iglesias hit a ground ball to short that Stephen Drew made a nice stop on. The Red Sox were unable to spin a double play, though, as Iglesias just beat out Dustin Pedroia’s throw at first base.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Torii Hunter hit a ground ball to short on the second pitch of his at-bat, and Boston successfully turned an inning-ending double play. Pedroia hung in there at second base despite Iglesias coming in hot with a takeout slide.
Phil Coke will start the seventh inning on the mound for Detroit.
Mid 6th, Tigers 7-1: The Red Sox are on the scoreboard, although they would have liked to have added more.
Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit three straight singles off Doug Fister with one out in the sixth inning. Salty’s single nearly took Fister’s head off, and it plated Napoli with Boston’s first run of Game 4.
The Red Sox couldn’t add any more, though. Stephen Drew struck out swinging, and Mike Carp — who pinch hit for Will Middlebrooks — grounded to second base for an inning-ending forceout.
Drew is now hitting .111 (3-for-27) in the postseason. He is 1-for-12 in the ALCS.
Xander Bogaerts will enter the game and play third base. Ryan Dempster will be the new Boston pitcher after two scoreless innings from Brandon Workman.
End 5th, Tigers 7-0: Brandon Workman tamed the Tigers in the fifth inning.
Victor Martinez hit a first-pitch line drive right at Dustin Pedroia for the first out, and Jhonny Peralta struck out swinging for the second out.
Workman walked Alex Avila with two down, but then rebounded to retire Omar Infante on a flyout to right field.
Mid 5th, Tigers 7-0: The Tigers showed off some nifty defense in the fifth inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury doubled into the left-center field gap after Will Middlebrooks struck out to begin the inning. Ellsbury now has two hits atop the Red Sox’ order.
Shane Victorino hit a little flair to the left side. Jose Iglesias ranged out into shallow left field to make the catch, and then nearly threw out Ellsbury as he retreated to second base. It’s simply amazing how quickly Iglesias transfers the ball from his glove to his throwing hand.
Miguel Cabrera had some theatrics of his own planned. Dustin Pedroia hit a slow roller to third base that Cabrera barehanded before firing to first base for the third out.
End 4th, Tigers 7-0: Miguel Cabrera made it 7-0 with an RBI single into center field. All seven runs went on Jake Peavy’s record.
Omar Infante led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a ground-rule double against Peavy, and Austin Jackson knocked him in with an RBI single to make it 6-0. Jackson hit a ground ball to the right side that Dustin Pedroia couldn’t corral on a diving attempt, and it ended up in right field.
Brandon Workman took over for Peavy at that point. Jackson swiped second base, but Workman recorded two straight outs to put himself on the cusp of exiting the inning unscathed.
Jose Iglesias dropped down a sacrifice bunt and almost beat it out. It took a great play from Workman to keep Iglesias off the bases. Torii Hunter then hit a sharp comebacker that Workman picked, keeping Jackson at third base.
Cabrera finally knocked in Jackson, though. He singled up the middle past a diving Pedroia.
The book is closed on Peavy, and it isn’t pretty. The right-hander gave up seven earned runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out one while throwing 65 pitches (35 strikes). Five of the seven runs came in the second inning.
9:38 p.m., Tigers 6-0: This probably wasn’t how Jake Peavy envisioned the biggest start of his career going.
The Tigers have added another run in the fourth inning, and Peavy will exit with the Red Sox trailing 6-0.
Brandon Workman is the new Boston pitcher.
Mid 4th, Tigers 5-0: Doug Fister fell one strike short off striking out the side in the fourth inning. But he still kept the Red Sox off the scoreboard.
Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava led off the fourth inning with a pair of swinging strikeouts. Napoli came up empty on a 2-2 changeup, and Nava whiffed on an 0-2 curveball down and in.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia worked the count full against Fister before dropping a two-out single into right-center field. Fister rebounded to retire Stephen Drew on a flyout to Torii Hunter in right.
End 3rd, Tigers 5-0: Jake Peavy settled down in the third inning after an awful second inning.
Peavy retired the side in order, which means that he has two 1-2-3 innings to go with the second-inning debacle. Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila went down in order in the third.
Martinez and Peralta both grounded to short. Avila smacked a fly ball to left field that Daniel Nava caught while drifting back.
Mid 3rd, Tigers 5-0: The Red Sox’ offense has been alive in the early going. Boston just doesn’t have any runs to show for it.
Jacoby Ellsbury got things going in the third inning with a line drive off the right field wall. Ellsbury took a wide turn around first base, but needed to retreat because the ball bounced hard back to Torii Hunter. Ellsbury was nearly thrown out while getting back to first base.
Shane Victorino struck out looking for the second out of the inning — Will Middlebrooks led off with a strikeout. Victorino checked his swing, but it didn’t matter, as Doug Fister’s 2-2 curveball dropped into the strike zone.
Dustin Pedroia made Fister work a little bit longer by earning a walk, but David Ortiz couldn’t cash in. Ortiz worked the count full before grounding into the shift for the third out.
End 2nd, Tigers 5-0: Jake Peavy was all over the place in the second inning, and the Tigers have seized control of Game 4.
The first three hitters of the second inning reached for Detroit. Victor Martinez singled, and Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila both walked. Peralta walked on four pitches, and Avila fouled off two straight 3-2 pitches before laying off a curveball.
Omar Infante then hit a lazy fly ball to center field that Jacoby Ellsbury caught while diving. Martinez, who has been banged up, wasn’t able to tag up and score, so the bases stayed loaded for the struggling Austin Jackson.
Peavy delivered four straight balls to Jackson to walk in the Tigers’ first run. Peavy’s command has been horrendous in this ballgame, especially when it comes to his fastball.
Jose Iglesias dug in for a very interesting at-bat. (He and Peavy, of course, were essentially traded for each other back in July.) Iglesias jumped on the first pitch, and hit what should have been an inning-ending double-play ball. Dustin Pedroia failed to handle the ground ball cleanly, though, and the Red Sox only recorded a forceout at second base. The Tigers grabbed a 2-0 lead on the play, as Mike Napoli did a nice job of coming off the bag to prevent any further damage on an errant throw from Stephen Drew.
The damage control didn’t last long. Torii Hunter ripped a two-run double down the left field line to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead, and Miguel Cabrera made it 5-0 with a single into center field.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: The Red Sox’ offense has made strides — two hits in two innings. However, the Sox failed to capitalize on a good scoring chance in the second inning.
Mike Napoli led off with a double into left field. Miguel Cabrera jumped up, but the ball clanked off the tip of his glove and into left.
Napoli advanced to third base when Daniel Nava hit a ground ball to the right side, but would never cross the plate. Jarrod Saltalamacchia popped out to Cabrera in foul territory, and Stephen Drew struck out looking.
Drew is now hitting .120 (3-for-25) this postseason.
End 1st, 0-0: We’re scoreless through one inning of Game 4. What, you’re surprised?
Jake Peavy tossed a 1-2-3 bottom of the second inning while facing the new-look top of the Tigers’ order.
Torii Hunter rolled over a slider to Will Middlebrooks at third base for the first out. As mentioned, this is Hunter’s first time batting leadoff since 1999.
Miguel Cabrera then jumped ahead in the count 3-1, but Peavy ended up striking him out with a nasty slider. Cabrera, who swung and missed a season-high nine times in Tuesday’s Game 3, couldn’t get the bat off his shoulder on Peavy’s sick 3-2 pitch.
Prince Fielder ended the inning with a ground ball to the left side that Middlebrooks handled.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Look at this!
The Red Sox didn’t produce a hit before the fifth inning in any of the first three games of the ALCS. Dustin Pedroia singled with two outs in the first inning of Game 4.
Pedroia dropped a two-out base hit over the head of second baseman Omar Infante. It didn’t matter, though, as Doug Fister retired David Ortiz on a bouncer to the right side to end the inning.
Prior to Pedroia’s single, Jacoby Ellsbury grounded to second base and Shane Victorino popped out to Prince Fielder in foul territory.
8:08 p.m.: Doug Fister has a no-hitter through one pitch. We’re underway in Game 4.
8:02 p.m.: Daniel Nava is getting the start over Jonny Gomes in Game 4, but John Farrell admitted Wednesday that it wasn’t the easiest decision to make.
“Yeah, tough to sit [Gomes],” Farrell told reporters in Detroit. “Even yesterday he had very good at-bats against Verlander, even though he had just one hit to show for it. Yeah, I don’t like to take that guy out of the lineup, for the reasons we talked about.”
Nava, as mentioned, is 5-for-12 against Doug Fister in his career.
:42 p.m.: Let’s look a little deeper at the history of Wednesday’s starters.
Jake Peavy, of course, spent parts of four seasons with the White Sox, so he saw quite a bit of the Tigers’ potent offense. Peavy is 4-5 with a 4.83 ERA in 12 career starts against the Tigers. He last faced Detroit in his final start as a member of the White Sox, and went seven innings while giving up four runs in that July 25 contest.
Miguel Cabrera has the most career at-bats against Peavy of any player in the Tigers’ starting lineup. He is a career .289 hitter (13-for-45) against the right-hander with three home runs and nine RBIs. Prince Fielder has hit .278 (10-for-36) with no home runs and two RBIs in his career versus Peavy.
Jim Leyland mentioned before Wednesday’s game that Torii Hunter has had success against Peavy. The man doesn’t lie. Hunter is 7-for-16 (.438) with a homer and seven RBIs in his career versus Peavy. Austin Jackson, who was bumped down in the lineup, is 9-for-28 (.321) with a homer and three RBIs versus Boston’s Game 4 starter.
Doug Fister, meanwhile, is 2-4 with a 4.36 ERA in eight career starts versus the Red Sox. Fister has faced Boston twice this season. He gave up six runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings in Detroit on June 21, and then tossed seven shutout innings in Boston on Sept. 2. Talk about two opposite ends of the spectrum.
David Ortiz has faced Fister more than anyone in the Red Sox’ starting lineup. He is 5-for-20 (.250) with one RBI in his career versus the Tigers right-hander. Daniel Nava, who is returning to the Red Sox’ lineup after sitting out Game 3, is 5-for-12 (.417) with two RBIs against Fister.
7:20 p.m.: The Dodgers have won Game 5 by a 6-4 score. There will be a Game 6 in St. Louis. The Cardinals lead the NLCS 3-2.
7:06 p.m.: Oh yeah, did I mention that this is Torii Hunter’s first time hitting leadoff since 1999?
Well, it is. And it’s also just the third time that Miguel Cabrera has batted second.
The old expression is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, if it’s broken, you should probably go ahead and fix it. Or, as Jim Leyland put it…
“Just a little something to, you know, churn up the butter a little bit.”
6:34 p.m.: While the Red Sox’ lineup is fairly straightforward, the Tigers have moved some pieces around for Game 4.
Torii Hunter will slide up into the leadoff spot and replace the struggling Austin Jackson. Jackson has been bumped down to eighth in the lineup.
Jackson is hitting a paltry .091 (3-for-33) with 18 strikeouts this postseason, and has never been much a playoff performer. Jackson is hitting .202 (25-for-124) with 53 strikeouts in 32 career playoff games, and Tigers manager Jim Leyland admitted Tuesday that he would consider benching Jackson. Leyland ultimately decided, though, that moving Jackson down might be the best solution, especially since Detroit doesn’t have many viable backup options.
“Well, I think I’m actually doing Austin Jackson a favor. He’s getting kicked around pretty good right now. I think it’s easy to kick people when they’re down. I’m not taking him out of the lineup, so I am sticking with him,” Leyland said Wednesday. “If I was taking guys out of the lineup, when you’re in the postseason you don’t really bench somebody, you might sit them. During the season you bench them for a week or something. There’s not anything like being benched in the postseason.
“I am sticking with him, just a different spot,” Leyland continued. “The strikeouts so far, it’s got to get to you a little bit. And like I said, anybody can kick somebody when they’re down little bit. I just wanted to refresh him, put him lower in the lineup, and hopefully that will relax him a little bit.”
Hunter is only hitting .182 (6-for-33) this postseason, but did collect two hits in Game 3, including a big single in the eighth inning that helped the Tigers build a rally. That rally, of course, was snuffed out when Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara struck out Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, respectively.
Cabrera and Fielder have moved up in the lineup as well despite not getting the job done Tuesday. They’ll bat second and third, respectively. Cabrera has been hobbled throughout this postseason and looked terrible in his eighth-inning at-bat, while Fielder hasn’t recorded an RBI in 15 straight postseason games. The biggest impact of the shuffled lineup could come from Victor Martinez — who is hitting .419 (13-for-31) this postseason — moving up into the cleanup spot.
“Basically I just moved everybody up,” Leyland said of his new-look lineup. “And that means in the first inning we’ll have Hunter, who’s had some success. He’s tough. He’s had some success against Peavy. And follow it up with two guys that could hit a ball out of the ballpark. Miguel, who is always up in the first inning, obviously, Miguel and Prince will come up in the first inning, Victor behind him. I played Victor behind instead of third because Victor can score Prince. But if you put Miggy and Victor right back‑to‑back, you’re talking about two guys who have to pinch run for them.”
Jose Iglesias, who didn’t enter Game 3 until the eighth inning, will start at shortstop while Jhonny Peralta shifts to left field.
6:04 p.m.: The lineups have been posted.
Daniel Nava will return to the Red Sox’ starting lineup after Jonny Gomes received the start in left field for Game 3.
That’s really the only major change for Boston, as both Will Middlebrooks and Stephen Drew will remain in the lineup despite speculation about if and when Xander Bogaerts will receive a start.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia stays behind the dish for Game 4.
The complete lineups are below.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jake Peavy, RHP
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Prince Fielder, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Jhonny Peralta, LF
Alex Avila, C
Omar Infante, 2B
Austin Jackson, CF
Jose Iglesias, SS
Doug Fister, RHP
8 a.m. ET: It’s safe to say that Jake Peavy has won over Red Sox fans since being acquired by the club back in July. Peavy could really make some friends around Boston with a big performance in Game 4 of the ALCS.
Peavy will take the ball in Game 4 on Wednesday as the Red Sox look to build a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Tigers will counter with Doug Fister as Detroit looks to even up the series following a crushing defeat in Tuesday’s Game 3.
Justin Verlander was superb for eight innings in Game 3, but it was John Lackey and the Red Sox who walked away with the win. Lackey pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings, Boston’s bullpen stepped up huge and Mike Napoli drove in the game’s only run via a solo homer in the seventh inning.
By winning Game 3, the Red Sox have already guaranteed that they’ll play at least one more game at Fenway Park in 2013. Boston can take one giant step toward a World Series berth in Game 4.
Wednesday’s action is scheduled to kick off at 8:07 p.m. Be sure to get your errands out of the way early.