Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sanchez, Tigers' bullpen Stifle Red Sox

American League Championship Series
Game 1 – Detroit Tigers (1) at Boston Red Sox (0)
Tigers lead series 1-0

The Detroit Tigers have not been scoring a lot of runs this postseason, but when a pitching staff holds the opposition to zero runs and just one hit, it doesn’t matter. The Tigers jumped out to a 1-0 American League Championship Series lead, with a 1-0, one-hit victory, snagging home field advantage from the Boston Red Sox.

Anibal Sanchez did not pitch to his ability in the division series, but the AL ERA leader worked in and out of trouble tossing six innings of hitless ball. Sanchez threw 116 pitches due to six walks and 12 strikeouts. It may not have been pretty for Sanchez, but obviously he was effective when it mattered and the Tigers bullpen did the rest.

Sanchez put himself on the ropes in the bottom half of the sixth walking the bases loaded, only to strikeout Stephen Drew on a nasty slider to end the frame. Sanchez pumped his fists in excitement after retiring his final batter of the night.

Tigers’ relievers added five more strikeouts along the way. Closer Joaquin Benoit gave up a one-out no-doubt single to Daniel Nava to break up the Tigers’ no-hit bid.

Detroit scored their lone run off Boston starter Jon Lester in the sixth. Miguel Cabrera drew a walk, Prince Fielder was hit by a pitch and Jhonny Peralta, who listened to a chorus of “steroids” chants all night, dropped a fly ball in front of Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury for an RBI-single. Lester ended the night allowing the one run, six hits and one walk while striking out five to take the hard-luck loss.

Notes:

  • Both teams went a combined for 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position
  • Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli all struck out three times
  • The Red Sox added two more stolen bases in the postseason – they now have 8
  • Peralta banged out three more hits – he is 8-for-16 on the postseason
  • The Red Sox had five players left in scoring position with two out
  • For the first time in MLB postseason history, there were a pair of 1-0 games completed on the same day
Tonight's Game 2 Probables
Detroit – Max Scherzer
Boston – Clay Buchholz

The Tigers are in a great position now with the Scherzer, the MLB wins leader, taking the ball in Game 2. But, he’ll be facing Buchholz who was stellar this season, even at Fenway Park where he was 6-1, 1.99 ERA. Should the Red Sox go down 2-0 heading to Detroit, they’ll have a very hard battle on their hands.

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