Red Sox-Tigers Live: John Lackey Outduels Justin Verlander As Sox Win 1-0 in Game 3 of ALCS


David OrtizFinal, Red Sox 1-0: The Red Sox have grabbed a 2-1 series lead.

Victor Martinez singled to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning, but Jhonny Peralta bounced into a 6-4-3 double play to alleviate some pressure. Koji Uehara completed his four-out save and secured Boston’s 1-0 win by striking out Alex Avila.

John Lackey and Justin Verlander went toe-to-toe in Tuesday’s Game 3, and the difference was Mike Napoli’s solo home run in the seventh inning. Napoli had been 2-for-19 in the postseason before going deep with one out in the seventh.

Verlander ended up going eight innings and gave up just one run on four hits. He struck out 10 and walked one while throwing 120 pitches (85 strikes). The Red Sox didn’t produce their first hit until the fifth inning, although that’s quicker than it took to get their first hits in Games 1 and 2.

Lackey was brilliant in 6 2/3 shutout innings. He gave up just four hits and didn’t walk anyone while striking out eight. Lackey threw 97 pitches (66 strikes) before handing the ball over to Craig Breslow with two outs in the seventh inning.

The most intense moments of Game 3 came in the eighth inning. Austin Jackson walked and Torii Hunter singled into right field to put runners at the corners with one out. The Tigers had the luxury of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder coming up.

Junichi Tazawa threw four straight heaters while striking out Cabrera, and Uehara struck out Fielder on three pitches. Uehara’s final pitch to Fielder was a nasty splitter that dropped out of the zone.

The Red Sox not only have a 2-1 series lead in the ALCS, but they have also recaptured home-field advantage. There will be at least one more game at Fenway Park this season now that Boston has guaranteed at least one victory in Detroit.

The Red Sox and Tigers will get right back at it in Game 4 on Wednesday. Jake Peavy and Doug Fister will square off in Detroit. Wednesday’s first pitch is scheduled for 8:07 p.m.

Good night, everyone.

Mid 9th, Red Sox 1-0: The Tigers used three pitchers to work a perfect ninth inning. Al Alburquerque retired Mike Napoli to end the frame.

Koji Uehara, who struck out Prince Fielder to end the eighth inning, now comes back out. The Red Sox are three defensive outs away from going up 2-1 in the ALCS.

Victor Martnez, Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila are due up in the ninth inning for Detroit.

7:33 p.m., Red Sox 1-0: Phil Coke retired David Ortiz on a ground ball to the right side.

Jim Leyland will now use his third pitcher of the inning. Al Alburquerque enters to face Mike Napoli.

7:29 p.m., Red Sox 1-0: Jose Veras began the ninth inning with a strikeout of Dustin Pedroia.

He’ll now give way to lefty Phil Coke with David Ortiz coming up.

End 8th, Red Sox 1-0: The situation that the Red Sox faced in the eighth inning was about as scary as they come.

Junichi Tazawa gave up a one-out single to Torii Hunter after Craig Breslow walked Austin Jackson. Jackson went from first to third on the hit.

That brought up Miguel Cabrera with runners at the corners, and Tazawa didn’t back down. Tazawa threw four straight fastballs outside to strike out the reigning AL MVP.

John Farrell then turned to Koji Uehara to face Prince Fielder with two outs. Uehara struck out Fielder on three pitches, with the final pitch being a splitter down and out of the zone.

7:21 p.m., Red Sox 1-0: Junichi Tazawa struck out Miguel Cabrera after a single from Torii Hunter.

Koji Uehara enters to face Prince Fielder with runners at the corners and two outs.

7:12 p.m., Red Sox 1-0: Craig Breslow walked Austin Jackson with one out. Junichi Tazawa will now enter with Torii Hunter coming up.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 1-0: Stephen Drew reached second base to begin the eighth inning, but the Red Sox couldn’t scratch across their second run.

Drew led off with a line drive into right field. Torii Hunter raced over toward the line to grab it as Drew took a hard turn around first base. Hunter bobbled it, and Drew kept on running to second base. (It was ruled a single for Drew and an error on Hunter.)

Justin Verlander settled down after Drew’s leadoff hit. Will Middlebrooks and Jacoby Ellsbury both flied out, and Shane Victorino lined out to Jhonny Peralta at short.

Craig Breslow, who recorded the final out of the seventh inning, will come back out to begin the bottom of the eighth.

End 7th, Red Sox 1-0: Craig Breslow finished off the seventh inning.

Breslow walked Alex Avila upon taking over for John Lackey with two outs in the seventh. That put runners at first and second for Omar Infante.

Infante ended the threat by grounding to second base. Dustin Pedroia made the play and flipped to Stephen Drew for the inning-ending forceout.

Lackey was sensational in his 6 2/3 innings of work, and it was clear that the right-hander wanted to stay in for at least one more batter. Lackey didn’t surrender a run and gave up just four hits. He struck out eight and didn’t walk anyone while throwing 97 pitches (66 strikes).

Lackey was in total control throughout his outing. He gave up two hits in the first inning, but avoided any damage and quickly settled into a rhythm following a 17-minute power outage in the second inning. Lackey’s command was exceptional, and his offspeed stuff was filthy.

6:50 p.m., Red Sox 1-0: John Lackey lobbied to stay in this game, but John Farrell will turn to his bullpen with two outs in the seventh inning.

Victor Martinez singled with one out, and Lackey fell behind Jhonny Peralta 3-0 before battling back to put him away.

Craig Breslow will enter with Martinez on first base and two outs. He’ll face Alex Avila.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 1-0: Mike Napoli picked a good time to break out.

Napoli had been 2-for-19 this postseason until launching a solo home run in the seventh inning of Game 3 to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.

Justin Verlander left a fastball over the plate to Napoli with one out in the seventh, and the slugger jumped all over it. It landed beyond the fence in left-center field.

Verlander’s pitch count now sits at 112. Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta are due up in the bottom of the seventh for Detroit.

End 6th, 0-0: One run might be enough in this game. Both starters have been fantastic.

John Lackey continued to match Justin Verlander by tossing a perfect sixth inning.

Lackey struck out Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter for the first two outs of the sixth. Jackson struck out swinging on fastball, and Hunter came up empty on another curveball that dropped off the table.

Miguel Cabrera, who fell behind in the count 1-2, popped out to end the inning.

Lackey has struck out eight in six scoreless innings. He has thrown 88 pitches (61 strikes) thus far.

Mid 6th, 0-0: The Red Sox had their first real scoring opportunity in the sixth inning.

Jacoby Ellsbury lined a single into center field with one out. He advanced to second base with two outs when a pitch in the dirt from Justin Verlander got away from catcher Alex Avila.

No biggie.

Verlander got Dustin Pedroia to ground out to short with Ellsbury on second base, and we’re still scoreless.

End 5th, 0-0: The Tigers had a runner on third base with one out. They couldn’t knock him in.

Jhonny Peralta led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a double into the left-center field gap.

There was a report Tuesday that “several” Red Sox players aren’t happy about Peralta — who just returned from a 50-game PED-related suspension — playing in this series, and it certainly has to anger those players even more that he keeps coming up with big hits.

Peralta moved over to third base when Alex Avila grounded to second. He wouldn’t advance another 90 feet, however, because Lackey buckled down with one out.

Lackey struck out Omar Infante for the second out. Infante chased a cutter out of the zone, and Lackey now has six strikeouts in the game.

Lackey escaped the jam by getting Andy Dirks on a slow roller to second base. Dustin Pedroia charged in, made the play and tossed to Mike Napoli to send the game into the sixth inning with the score still 0-0.

Mid 5th, 0-0: The Red Sox only waited until the fifth inning to record their first hit this time around.

The Red Sox didn’t get their first hit of Game 1 until there was one out in the ninth inning. Boston didn’t produce its first hit of Game 2 until there were two outs in the sixth inning.

Jonny Gomes broke up Justin Verlander’s Game 3 no-hitter with two outs in the fifth. It was an infield single up the middle.

Verlander struck out Mike Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia before Gomes hit a slow grounder over second base. It took a while for shortstop Jhonny Peralta to catch up to it. Peralta’s throw to first base was in the dirt, and Prince Fielder was unable to pick it out.

Jose Iglesias definitely would have made the play on Gomes’ grounder, but there’s no way Peralta could have been charged with an error. Gomes was hustling all the way, and Peralta needed to rush his throw for what would have been a bang-bang play had Fielder handled it.

The Red Sox couldn’t do anything with the two-out hit, though. Stephen Drew grounded to second base to end the inning.

End 4th, 0-0: John Lackey has retired 10 straight — nine straight since the power outage.

Lackey tossed a 1-2-3 fourth inning in which he retired the heart of the Tigers’ order.

Miguel Cabrera struck out to begin the inning. Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez then grounded out.

Lackey has been very sharp in his first four innings. His offspeed stuff continues to be particularly nasty, and his command has been exceptional.

Mid 4th, 0-0: Justin Verlander’s string of strikeouts was broken up in the fourth inning. But the Tigers ace kept rolling toward another scoreless frame.

Verlander’s scoreless fourth wasn’t without a brief moment of anxiety for the Detroit crowd. David Ortiz sent one to the warning track for the inning’s final out.

Shane Victorino popped out behind the plate, and Dustin Pedroia flied out to left field. Ortiz then hammered a pitch to left-center field that took Andy Dirks all the way back to the wall.

The two pitchers are really dueling early in Game 3. Ortiz was about three feet short of breaking through, though.

End 3rd, 0-0: John Lackey has matched Justin Verlander pitch-for-pitch in the early going.

Lackey struck out two more in the third inning — giving him four straight K’s — before Torii Hunter hit a check-swing grounder to second base to end the inning.

Lackey’s offspeed stuff has really been working thus far. The right-hander fanned Andy Dirks in the third inning with a nasty curveball in the dirt.

Mid 3rd, 0-0: Tigers pitchers are really opening up the record books in this series.

Justin Verlander, who struck out three straight after a leadoff walk in the second inning, struck out the side in the third inning. Verlander’s six consecutive strikeouts tie an MLB postseason record.

Stephen Drew, Will Middlebrooks and Jacoby Ellsbury struck out against Verlander in the third inning. Drew went down swinging, while Middlebrooks and Ellsbury went down looking.

Ellsbury didn’t offer at a curveball that dropped onto the outside corner.

End 2nd, 0-0: If anything, the power outage made John Lackey sharper.

Lackey, who gave up two hits before avoiding damage in the first inning, tossed a 1-2-3 second inning once play resumed.

Lackey struck out Alex Avila and Omar Infante. Avila fanned on a nasty cutter down and in, and Infante foul tipped a fastball into Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s mitt.

4:59 p.m., 0-0: The lights are back on, and play has resumed.

John Lackey faces Jhonny Peralta to kick off the bottom of the second inning.

The delay lasted 17 minutes.

4:57 p.m., 0-0: OK, so here’s the deal.

Most of the lights at Comerica Park went out just before the start of the bottom of the second inning. Both teams were then forced to hang in their dugouts as the umpires sorted things out.

Now, the lights are starting to come back on, so action should resume soon.

The biggest aspect of this whole thing is whether it’ll have any effect on the starting pitchers.

4:53 p.m., 0-0: It’s the Super Bowl all over again.

OK, maybe not that bad. But we are in the midst of a delay due to a power outage.

Stay tuned.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: Justin Verlander was forced to work a lot harder to keep the Red Sox off the scoreboard in the second inning.

Verlander threw 26 pitches in the second inning after tossing just eight in the first. He walked David Ortiz to lead off the second inning, but then struck out the side from there.

Ortiz walked on eight pitches in the second. Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jonny Gomes then struck out swinging.

Gomes, whose presence in the lineup was discussed at length before Tuesday’s game, saw nine pitches in a very lengthy battle. Gomes almost smacked a two-run homer down the left field line, but it traveled just foul. He ended up fanning on a slider down and out of the zone.

End 1st, 0-0: John Lackey worked through two hits in the first inning to keep the Tigers scoreless.

The Tigers were extremely aggressive in the first inning. The first three hitters swung at the first pitch, with both Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter putting the first pitch in play.

Jackson lined out to Shane Victorino in shallow right field, while Hunter got things going with a single into center.

Miguel Cabrera also took a hack at the first pitch he saw, but fouled it off. Cabrera ended up giving the fourth pitch of his at-bat a ride to center field, where Jacoby Ellsbury made the catch.

Prince Fielder really made things interesting with a two-out single into right-center field that sent Hunter from first to third. Lackey battled back from a 3-1 hole to retire Victor Martinez, though, and we’re scoreless through one inning at Comerica Park.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Justin Verlander enjoyed a very smooth first inning.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia went down on eight pitches.

Ellsbury led off with a chopper to third base that Miguel Cabrera handled, and Victorino hit a soft liner right at Omar Infante.

Pedroia swung at the first pitch, and lifted a lazy fly ball to right field.

4:08 p.m.: Justin Verlander delivers a first-pitch strike. Let’s play some baseball.

3:58 p.m.: Keep an eye on Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta in this game.

V-Mart is a career .379 (11-for-29) hitter against John Lackey, while Peralta has hit .355 (11-for-31) with four RBIs against the right-hander.

3:50 p.m.: While Jonny Gomes is getting the start in Game 3, it sounds like Daniel Nava will return to the lineup for Game 4.

“There was conversation among our staff. And not just about today’s game, because tomorrow’s matchup, Daniel has had good success against Fister,” John Farrell said Tuesday. “That’s no guarantee that will be the case tomorrow. But also contemplating Daniel will have three days off leading into tomorrow and how does that affect his potential timing at the plate. There were a number of things we considered.

But getting back to what’s most important, that’s today, and trying to get the best fit, the best matchup that we could come to.”

3:39 p.m.: If you’re a fan of predicting things, I highly suggest you check out Soxcaster.

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3:32 p.m.: Andy Dirks is getting his first start of the series for Detroit. He’ll be in left field.

Jhonny Peralta will get the nod at shortstop in Game 3, meaning that Jose Iglesias will start the contest on the bench.

Dirks is 2-for-5 with an RBI and a walk in six career plate appearances versus John Lackey.

“[Dirks has] struggled a little bit, been off, had time to clear the cobwebs, not getting a lot out of production out of left field unless we played Peralta there,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “He’s done a little bit off Lackey. And I thought we’d change it up and run him out there, maybe get something, catch lightning in the bottle. That’s the lineup. We’ll see how it plays out.”

3:16 p.m.: Ryan Dempster appeared on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning, and said that good pitching will always neutralize good hitting, hence the events of Games 1 and 2.

Dempster has plenty of confidence in the Red Sox’ offense, though. More specifically, he has confidence in Boston’s ability to find a way to get the job done.

“The thing about this team is we’ll find a way to scrap together something. We did it in Tampa in the clincher there, the way we scored on a wild pitch and an infield single. I think it definitely helps,” Dempster said. “I think just as important as that bottom of the eighth inning was the sixth inning, where we gave up a four-spot and went out and answered back and scored a run off of Max Scherzer.

“That, to me, was just as important of any inning in the whole entire game, because it just let them know like, ‘Hey, that’s great, you guys got a lead. We’re going to continue to chip away and do what we need to do. And if you don’t execute pitches, we’re going to score some runs.”

2:48 p.m.: It wasn’t all that shocking to see Jonny Gomes in the starting nine when the Red Sox posted their lineup Tuesday. John Farrell suggested Monday that that would perhaps be the case. However, it’s still an interesting talking point going into Game 3.

Personally, I think Daniel Nava should get the start. While I agree that Gomes brings something that can’t be quantified, I think his lack of success versus Justin Verlander is somewhat concerning. Plus, Nava has been the better hitter against right-handers this season, even if Gomes’ splits aren’t quite as drastic as years past. Mostly, however, I just feel like the Red Sox would be better off picking their spots with Gomes later in the game.

In any event, Farrell was asked again on Tuesday why he decided to go with Gomes over Nava in Game 3.

“Well, with Jonny in left field today, I just felt like the ability to keep us right and left alternately pretty much through our entire lineup, and the one thing we discussed yesterday or mentioned yesterday was when we’ve done some things offensively Jonny has been in the middle of it,” Farrell said Tuesday. “I think he brings a little different personality to our team. And that’s not to be demeaning to Daniel Nava in any way, just felt like going up against Verlander today, if he’s on, we can probably take those matchups and discard them somewhat. We’re looking at a different lineup, different look today.”

1:50 p.m.: The most notable aspect of Boston’s lineup is that Jonny Gomes is getting the start over Daniel Nava against right-hander Justin Verlander.

Gomes has fared much better against lefties throughout his career, and has typically been inserted into the Red Sox’ lineup against southpaws. However, the Tigers don’t have any lefties in their starting rotation, so the Red Sox have done things a bit differently in this series.

Gomes started Game 2 at Fenway Park with Max Scherzer starting for Detroit, and John Farrell indicated Monday — before Tuesday’s lineup card was posted — that Gomes would likely find his way into the Game 3 starting lineup because of the “intangibles” he brings to the table. Gomes has certainly had a flair for the dramatic this season, and he was at the heart of Boston’s ninth-inning rally Sunday.

“The one thing that might fly under the radar with Jonny is he’s a smart player. Much like we talked about with the will to succeed on [Dustin Pedroia’s] part on second base, it’s very similar to Jonny,” Farrell said. “So he can bring an overall personality to a team when he’s in the lineup versus when he’s in the dugout. These are the things at this point in time in the year I think you have to consider strongly with the attitude and the makeup that we present on the field.”

Going with Gomes over Nava in Game 3 based on “intangibles” isn’t without a roll of the dice, though. Gomes is 0-for-9 with three strikeouts and three walks in his career versus Verlander, while Nava is 1-for-3 with a double and a walk against the Tigers ace. Plus, Nava has been the guy all season in the Red Sox’ left field platoon when it comes to facing right-handers.

1:32 p.m.: We’ve got lineups! Check them out below.

Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Jonny Gomes, LF
Stephen Drew, SS
Will Middlebrooks, 3B

John Lackey, RHP

Austin Jackson, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Prince Fielder, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Alex Avila, C
Omar Infante, 2B
Andy Dirks, LF

Justin Verlander, RHP

8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox were four outs away from falling into an 0-2 hole in the ALCS. Now, the series is tied 1-1 and the Red Sox have all of the momentum going into Game 3 in Detroit.

David Ortiz smacked a game-tying grand slam, Jarrod Saltalamacchia delivered a walk-off single and Boston won Game 2 at Fenway Park on Sunday to even up the best-of-seven series. The late-game rally came after the Red Sox’ offense started the ALCS 3-for-51 with 30 strikeouts.

The task won’t get any easier for Boston in Game 3 on Tuesday. Justin Verlander will take the ball for Detroit, and he’s been sensational of late. Verlander, who has long been the Tigers’ ace, hasn’t allowed a run since Sept. 18 — a span of 27 innings — and is coming off a tremendous performance in Game 5 of the ALDS in Oakland.

The Red Sox will counter with John Lackey, who was pushed back to Game 3 of the ALCS after pitching Game 2 of the ALDS. John Farrell opted to instead go with Clay Buchholz in Game 2 versus the Tigers. Lackey hasn’t pitched in 10 days, so the right-hander will need to shake off any rust upon taking the hill at Comerica Park. He can’t afford to struggle early, as Verlander has the potential to continue Detroit’s starting pitching dominance.

Tuesday’s Game 3 is scheduled for 4 p.m. Stay right here to see if the Red Sox can keep their magic rolling.

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