Final, Tigers 1-0: Daniel Nava broke up the no-hitter, but the Red Sox left the tying run at second base in the ninth inning.
Anibal Sanchez and four relievers combined for a one-hit shutout, and the Tigers have taken Game 1.
The Tigers had a combined no-hitter going until Nava singled into center field with one out in the ninth inning. Quintin Berry then pinch ran for Nava and swiped second base with Xander Bogaerts batting. Bogaerts put up a good battle against Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit, but the rookie popped out to Jose Iglesias at short to end the ballgame.
Sanchez tossed six hitless innings in Saturday’s Game 1. He struck out 12, but walked six, so his pitch count soared to 116. The quartet of Al Alburquerque, Jose Veras, Drew Smyly and Benoit closed out Detroit’s victory. Red Sox hitters struck out 17 times before all was said and done.
The Red Sox still had a couple of chances despite just the one hit. In addition to Bogaerts’ ninth-inning at-bat with Berry on second, the Red Sox had the bases loaded in the sixth inning. Stephen Drew struck out on what turned out to be Sanchez’s final pitch of the night.
The lone run was scored in the sixth inning. Jhonny Peralta dropped a two-out RBI single into center field when Jon Lester tried to put him away with a 2-2 curveball. Lester was solid in 6 1/3 innings of work.
The Red Sox and Tigers will get back at it Sunday at Fenway Park. Clay Buchholz will face Max Scherzer, and the action is scheduled to kick off at 8:07 p.m.
Good night, everyone.
Mid 9th, Tigers 1-0: Stephen Drew made a huge running catch to end the top of the ninth inning.
Jose Iglesias led off the ninth inning with a single off Koji Uehara. Torii Hunter made it second and third with a one-out double down the left field line.
Uehara bounced back to strike out Don Kelly, who replaced Miguel Cabrera at third base in the eighth inning.
Prince Fielder threatened to plate two runs with a blooper into center field, but Drew raced out to make a great grab. The ball actually rattled around in his glove, but Drew ultimately made the play.
Joaquin Benoit now enters the game for the Tigers. The Red Sox are still searching for their first hit.
Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava and Stephen Drew are due up in the ninth for Boston.
End 8th, Tigers 1-0: The Red Sox are hitless through eight innings.
Jose Veras struck out the first two hitters of the eighth inning. Shane Victorino struck out swinging, and Dustin Pedroia struck out looking.
Pedroia was called out on a pitch that definitely looked outside, and he was understandably frustrated. Joe West isn’t making any friends in the Red Sox’ dugout in Game 1.
Jim Leyland turned to lefty Drew Smyly to face David Ortiz with two outs. Ortiz worked the count full, but flied out to center field to end the inning.
Koji Uehara will now enter the game. The Tigers are three defensive outs away from not only taking Game 1, but also doing so by way of a combined no-hitter.
There has never been a combined no-hitter in postseason history. In fact, there’s never been a no-hitter of any kind on the road in postseason history.
Mid 8th, Tigers 1-0: The Tigers loaded the bases in the eighth inning, but Craig Breslow made a big pitch when he desperately needed one.
Prince Fielder walked with one out, and Jhonny Peralta ripped a double into the left field corner with two outs. Breslow then intentionally walked Omar Infante to load the bases for Alex Avila.
Breslow fell behind in the count, 3-1, against Avila. But the left-hander then got Avila to sky a fly ball to center field, where Jacoby Ellsbury made the inning-ending catch.
Jose Veras will be the new Tigers pitcher in the eighth inning. Ramon Santiago, who pinch ran for Peralta, will stay in the game and play third base — Miguel Cabrera exits. Don Kelly will be the new left fielder.
End 7th, Tigers 1-0: John Farrell turned to his bench against Al Alburquerque in the seventh inning. The Red Sox still couldn’t muster up a hit.
Mike Carp pinch hit for Will Middlebrooks to begin the seventh. Carp hit a slow roller to short that Jose Iglesias easily handled.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia then pinch hit for David Ross. Salty struck out on three pitches. He looked at two of them, including the third strike.
Jacoby Ellsbury struck out swinging to end the inning. Ellsbury, who jumped ahead in the count 3-0, thought he earned a walk on a 3-1 pitch. However, home plate umpire Joe West said that it caught the bottom of the strike zone.
Craig Breslow will be the new Boston pitcher in the eighth inning. The Red Sox still don’t have a hit in this ballgame, and it’s clear that they’re frustrated with West’s strike zone. Farrell came out for a chat with the ump between innings.
Salty will take over behind the plate. Xander Bogaerts will enter the game at third base.
Mid 7th, Tigers 1-0: Junichi Tazawa took care of business upon taking over for Jon Lester.
Austin Jackson grounded to third base, and Torii Hunter flied out to deep right field. Jose Iglesias, who got plunked by Lester with one out, was left hanging at second base.
Lester gave up just one run on six hits over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out four, walked one and threw 109 pitches (72 strikes).
The Tigers will now turn to their bullpen despite Anibal Sanchez holding a no-hitter. Al Alburquerque will be the new Detroit pitcher in the seventh inning.
Sanchez struck out 12 over six hitless innings. He walked six, though, and his pitch count climbed to 116. None of Sanchez’s 12 K’s were as big as the strikeout that ended the sixth inning. Stephen Drew fanned with the bases loaded.
10:51 p.m., Tigers 1-0: Jon Lester’s night is over.
Lester hit Jose Iglesias with a pitch with one out in the seventh inning. Junichi Tazawa will now enter the game with leadoff hitter Austin Jackson coming up.
End 6th, Tigers 1-0: The Red Sox left the bases loaded in the sixth inning.
Anibal Sanchez still hasn’t given up a hit, yet Boston packed the bags in the sixth. Sanchez walked Dustin Pedroia, Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava en route to a crucial two-out showdown with Stephen Drew.
Drew fouled off three straight pitches after taking a first-pitch ball. Sanchez struck out Drew with a slider, and then pumped his fist emphatically while walking back to the dugout.
Sanchez has 12 strikeouts in addition to not giving up a hit. He has walked six and has thrown 116 pitches, though, so we might not see much more — if any — of the right-hander from here on out.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland was forced to make a difficult decision once Sanchez walked Nava with two outs. Lefty Drew Smyly was ready in the Detroit bullpen, but Leyland stuck with Sanchez to face Drew. If Leyland had gone to Smyly, John Farrell likely would have countered with Xander Bogaerts.
Jon Lester is going back out for the seventh inning. Junichi Tazawa had been warming up in the Boston bullpen, and it looks like Craig Breslow might start getting loose.
Mid 6th, Tigers 1-0: Jon Lester couldn’t sneak a 2-2 curveball by Jhonny Peralta.
Lester walked Miguel Cabrera and plunked Prince Fielder with one out in the sixth inning. That set up runners at first and second for the hot-hitting Victor Martinez.
The Red Sox nearly escaped the jam via a 6-4-3 double play, but Martinez beat out a bang-bang play at first base. Stephen Drew made a nice play while charging Martinez’s ground ball to short, and Pedroia made an excellent turn at second base with the 275-pound Fielder bearing down on him. It wasn’t enough to turn the difficult double play.
Lester was one strike away from exiting the inning unscathed regardless. The lefty failed to put away Peralta, though. Peralta stayed back on an offspeed offering and dropped it into center field for an RBI single.
Anibal Sanchez needed to sit a while during the Tigers’ set of at-bats. We’ll see if that has any impact on the right-hander, who hasn’t given up a hit in this game.
End 5th, 0-0: The Red Sox can’t get anything going against Anibal Sanchez.
Boston is still searching for its first hit, as Sanchez tossed another 1-2-3 inning in the fifth.
Will Middlebrooks grounded to second base, David Ross popped to second base and Jacoby Ellsbury struck out.
Sanchez has 10 strikeouts in his five no-hit innings.
Mid 5th, 0-0: The Tigers made a bunch of noise in an eventful fifth before Jon Lester finally exited the inning unscathed.
Jhonny Peralta led off with a double into the left-center field gap. Peralta, of course, served a 50-game suspension this season for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. But he’s making an impact this postseason.
Peralta was wiped off the bases on an aggressive, heads-up play by Mike Napoli. Napoli was playing in on the grass — likely anticipating a bunt — and Omar Infante drilled a hot shot right at him. Napoli made the play and fired to second base as Peralta tried to retreat. Stephen Drew slapped down a quick tag — although it’s questionable whether he actually tagged him — to retire Peralta.
Alex Avila singled into right field with one out, and Shane Victorino charged the ball hard. Victorino couldn’t corral it, though, and Infante advanced to third base.
The Tigers had a run cut down at the plate when Jose Iglesias hit a hard ground ball to Will Middlebrooks at third. Infante was off on contact, and Middlebrooks threw him out by a mile.
Austin Jackson gave one a ride to deep right field with two on and two outs. Victorino raced back to make the inning-ending grab.
End 4th, 0-0: Up they come. Down they go.
Anibal Sanchez struck out the side in the fourth inning. He now has nine strikeouts total.
Sanchez sat down Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava and Stephen Drew in the fourth inning. Napoli and Drew both went down hacking, and Nava went down looking.
Joe West’s strike zone isn’t sitting well with a few players. Nava had a few words for West as he walked back to the dugout in the fourth.
The Red Sox are still searching for their first hit.
Mid 4th, 0-0: Jon Lester faced the meat of the Tigers’ order in the fourth inning, and lived to tell about it.
Lester retired Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez in order in the fourth inning.
Cabrera and Fielder both hit choppers to second base that Dustin Pedroia handled easily. Martinez ended the inning with a line drive to right field that Shane Victorino grabbed.
Lester has thrown 62 pitches (43 strikes) through four innings. He hasn’t issued a walk yet.
End 3rd 0-0: The Red Sox went down in order in the third inning.
Shane Victorino struck out looking for the first out. This time, catcher Alex Avila successfully squeezed it, and Victorino was sent back to the dugout. The outfielder took a few expletives with him.
Dustin Pedroia then flied out to center field, and David Ortiz grounded to third base.
Anibal Sanchez has six strikeouts through three innings.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: Torii Hunter isn’t enjoying the ALCS thus far.
Hunter chased a pitch in the dirt while striking out in the first inning. He grounded into a double play to end the top of the third inning.
Austin Jackson singled into left field with one out in the third after Jose Iglesias led off with a fly ball to right field. Lester made sure it didn’t hurt him by inducing a ground ball to short, where Stephen Drew kicked off a tailor-made 6-4-3 twin killing.
End 2nd, 0-0: Jose Iglesias showed off his rocket arm to end the second inning.
Anibal Sanchez has struggled with his control early on. He issued two walks in the second inning — giving him three for the game — and has already thrown 51 pitches (26 strikes).
Daniel Nava struck out to begin the second. That was the fifth strikeout for Sanchez, who struck out four hitters in a unique first inning.
Sanchez walked Stephen Drew with one out, and then issued a two-out walk to David Ross. Ross worked the count full before earning his free pass.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a sharp grounder back up the middle following Ross’ walk. Iglesias initially bobbled it, but recovered in time to throw out the speedy Ellsbury. Iglesias really had to hurry after the initial bobble, and his strong arm certainly helped him out.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Eight of the first 14 hitters in this game have struck out.
Jon Lester struck out two while working a perfect second inning. Both K’s came after Jhonny Peralta grounded to third base to begin the frame.
Lester first disposed of Omar Infante on four pitches. The lefty pulled the string with a curveball to complete the strikeout.
Alex Avila then struck out looking on four pitches. Lester put him away with a good-looking cutter that caught the corner.
End 1st, 0-0: Anibal Sanchez did something in the first inning that hasn’t been done since 1908.
Sanchez struck out four hitters. The only other pitcher to strike out four batters in one inning in a postseason game is Orval Overall in the 1908 World Series.
Sanchez’s feat came to fruition because Shane Victorino reached base on his strikeout. Victorino fanned on a slider out of the zone, and it traveled to the backstop, allowing The Flyin’ Hawaiian to reach safely at first base.
Dustin Pedroia then walked, and Sanchez struck out both David Ortiz and Mike Napoli to end the inning and avoid any damage.
Ortiz tried to check his swing on two separate occasions throughout the course of his at-bat, and couldn’t hold up on a 3-2 pitch. The big man wasn’t happy with the call, either.
Mid 1st, 0-0: It wasn’t the sharpest inning for the Red Sox. But Jon Lester and Co. kept the Tigers off the scoreboard.
Lester looked great out of the shoot. He struck out Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter to begin the ballgame. Jackson has been struggling mightily this postseason, but Hunter has had plenty of success against Lester in the past.
Lester blew a 96 mph fastball by Jackson, and then retired Hunter on a curveball in the dirt. Hunter tried to check his swing, but couldn’t hold up.
Miguel Cabrera dug in and almost hooked a fly ball inside Pesky’s Pole. It sailed just foul, though, and Miggy ended up singling to left field. Cabrera clearly isn’t 100 percent, and that showed in his inability to take an extra base when Daniel Nava struggled to corral the ball near the wall.
Fielder singled to center field with two outs, and the ball ate up Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury got enough of the ball to knock it down, however, and Cabrera could only advance to second base.
The inning ended with a nice play by Stephen Drew. Victor Martinez hit a chopper over the mound that Drew handled on the run.
8:12 p.m.: Jon Lester delivers a first-pitch strike. The 2013 ALCS is underway.
8:03 p.m.: Nomar Garciaparra threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park. We’re just about ready for baseball. The wait is over.
7:54 p.m.: A huge part of this series will obviously be taming the middle of the Tigers’ order, namely Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. But look out for Torii Hunter, who is batting second in Game 1.
Hunter is a career .433 hitter (13-for-30) against Jon Lester with a home run and four RBIs.
Cabrera has also raked against Lester, but he rakes against everybody, so that’s really no surprise. Cabrera is a career .526 hitter (10-for-19) against Lester with a home run and three RBIs.
Victor Martinez has hit .429 (6-for-14) with a home run and three RBIs in his career against his former teammate.
7:40 p.m.: There’s been no shortage of build-up and anticipation this postseason.
The Red Sox had a four-day layoff between the end of the regular season and their series against the Rays. Boston is now dealing with a three-day layoff between the end of the ALDS and this series against the Tigers.
The Sox certainly aren’t going to complain about having extra rest, though. The Tigers were forced to battle in Oakland on Thursday night before flying to Boston.
The Red Sox are 17-13 all time in the opening game of a postseason series. That includes an 8-5 mark at home. Boston has won six of its last seven series openers — beginning with the 2007 ALDS.
7:16 p.m.: Looking ahead to Game 2, there’s a chance we could see Mike Carp, as Mike Napoli is 1-for-13 with five strikeouts in his career against Max Scherzer.
There’s also a chance we could see Jonny Gomes and/or Xander Bogaerts. Daniel Nava’s career numbers (1-for-10) against Scherzer aren’t good, and John Farrell has left open the door for a potential start for Bogaerts.
7:08 p.m.: If you’re a fan of predicting things — and who isn’t really? — I highly suggest you check out Soxcaster.
Soxcaster is the ultimate in-game contest for the Red Sox’ postseason run. Check out more details at the link below.
7:02 p.m.: As mentioned, only five players on the Red Sox have faced Anibal Sanchez. Shane Victorino has by far the most experience versus Sanchez — which stems from the pair’s time in the NL East.
Below is a look at how those five guys (not the burger joint) have fared against Sanchez.
Shane Victorino: .233 (10-for-43) average, .298 on-base percentage, one homer, two RBIs
Stephen Drew: .250 average (5-for-20), .304 on-base percentage, three RBIs
David Ross: .182 (2-for-11), .250 on-base percentage, one homer, two RBIs
Jonny Gomes: .250 average (1-for-4), .400 on-base percentage
David Ortiz: 1.000 average (3-for-3), 1.000 on-base percentage, two homers, four RBIs
6:39 p.m.: Jake Peavy is scheduled to pitch Game 4. However, if the situation calls, we could see him in Game 1.
John Farrell said that Peavy is available in relief Saturday, although it would have to be a “specific situation.”
“Out of fairness to Jake, and in fairness to all, we’ve got guys who are familiar with certain roles and while there wouldn’t be hesitancy to use a starter, it would have to be a specific situation,” Farrell said. “In other words, I’m not jumping him ahead of (Junichi) Tazawa or maybe even (Brandon) Workman in a certain situation.”
6:31 p.m.: David Ross — not Jarrod Saltalamacchia — is getting the start behind the plate in Game 1. A couple of things factored into John Farrell’s decision.
Ross is one of only five Red Sox players to have faced Anibal Sanchez. He’s 2-for-11 against the right-hander.
Farrell also liked what he saw when Jon Lester and Ross worked together against the Tigers back on Sept. 3. Lester gave up just two runs while striking out nine over seven innings in that ballgame.
“There’s some familiarity with Sanchez even though Sanchez is tougher on righties,” Farrell said. “The depth of our roster and the depth of our players has been a main contributor to our success this year and we look to take advantage of that as best we can.
“The game in early September with Jon and David pairing up, that was one of the primary reasons.”
5:45 p.m.: It’s very misty at Fenway Park right now. The lineup cards are dry, though. And here they are.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Stephen Drew, SS
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
David Ross, C
Jon Lester, LHP
Austin Jackson, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Prince Fielder, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Jhonny Peralta, LF
Omar Infante, 2B
Alex Avila, C
Jose Iglesias, SS
Anibal Sanchez, RHP
1:55 p.m.: The Red Sox announced their ALCS roster. If it looks familiar, it’s because it’s the exact same as Boston’s ALDS roster. There are no changes to report.
8 a.m. ET: Four wins separate both the Tigers and Red Sox from a World Series berth. Each club enters the ALCS with something to prove.
The Tigers were a popular preseason pick in the American League. And why not? They have a rotation anchored by Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, a potent offense that includes the lethal combination of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, and they have an experienced manager who knows a thing or two about calling the shots on the big stage. Oh yeah, and the Tigers are the defending AL champs.
The Red Sox were also a popular preseason pick — to finish out of the playoff picture completely. One season removed from a 69-93 campaign, it was hard to imagine Boston coming out of the tough AL East, never mind emerging as a legitimate World Series contender. Yet Boston’s bearded bunch has personified resilience, relentlessness and grit en route to the American League’s best regular-season record, an ALDS victory over the Rays and a spot in the ALCS.
The Red Sox enter the ALCS with the benefit of rest and home-field advantage. Boston last played Tuesday in Tampa Bay, while Detroit arrived at Fenway Park on Friday after playing in Oakland on Thursday night. Don’t expect the Tigers to lay down, though. It’s October, and these two teams are more than willing to empty the tank while in search of the ultimate prize.
Jon Lester and Anibal Sanchez will square off in Game 1 on Saturday. The action at Fenway Park is set to kick off at 8 p.m. Make sure you’ve got a good seat, and let’s start another thrilling playoff series.
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