Friday, March 7, 2014
By Kevin Thomas email@example.com
BOSTON — The Detroit Tigers were held to one run, and it was plenty.
There were numerous contemplative, what-can-I-do-to-get-a-hit looks Saturday night for the Boston Red Sox. And no wonder. David Ortiz and his teammates struck out a total of 17 times and managed one hit in a loss to Detroit.
The Associated Press
Anibal Sanchez of the Detroit Tigers had trouble with command but was tough when he had to be, including a Stephen Drew strikeout to end the sixth with the bases full.
The Associated Press
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Staff writer Kevin Thomas will keep you up to date on the Red Sox throughout the baseball playoffs.
Led by starter Anibal Sanchez, the Tigers one-hit the Boston Red Sox for a 1-0 victory in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday night at Fenway Park.
Game 2 will be at 8:15 p.m. Sunday.
Sanchez allowed no hits through six innings but had to leave because his pitch count reached 116. Sanchez struck out 12 but walked six.
“His stuff is terrific,” Tigers Manager Jim Leyland said. “He just got out of whack with his control a little bit."
Detroit’s relievers kept the no-hitter going until the ninth, when Daniel Nava broke it up with a one-out, line-drive single to center off closer Joaquin Benoit.
Pinch-runner Quintin Berry came in for Nava. But before he could steal a base, Stephen Drew flew out to right field.
Rookie Xander Bogaerts, who entered after Will Middlebrooks was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, came to the plate. Berry stole second base and was in scoring position. Bogaerts worked a full count but then popped up to short, ending the game.
Jhonny Peralta got the winning hit with a two-out, RBI single in the sixth.
“A two-out base hit was the difference in this one,” Red Sox Manager John Farrell said.
Boston left-hander Jon Lester took the loss, going 6 1/3 innings.
The Tigers outhit Boston 9-1 but left 12 on base.
“What you’re seeing is a lot of good pitching,” Leyland said. “We have to do better with out opportunities. We were fortunate (Saturday).”
Detroit pitchers combined for 17 strikeouts. Sanchez was nearly untouchable.
“Anibal led the league in ERA, didn’t he?” Red Sox catcher David Ross said. “We battled. But he was pitching around the zone, kind of effectively wild.”
Sanchez's lack of control got him into trouble early, as he allowed a pair of base runners in both the first and second.
In the first, Sanchez began by striking out Jacoby Ellsbury. Then Shane Victorino reached after striking out on a wild pitch. Dustin Pedroia followed with a walk, but Sanchez struck out both David Ortiz and Mike Napoli.
The four strikeouts in an inning in a postseason game was last done 105 years earlier by Orval Overall of the Cubs against the Tigers in the 1908 World Series.
In the second, both Stephen Drew and David Ross walked, but Ellsbury ended the inning by grounding to short.
Sanchez was at 51 pitches through two innings but settled down after that and retired 10 straight batters.
“I just tried to keep the ball down,” Sanchez said. “I didn’t want to miss in the middle which is why I had a lot of walks.”
Lester, meanwhile, got out of his own jam in the first. After two-out singles by Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez worked the count full. With the Fenway crowd on its feet, Lester got Martinez to ground out to short.
Lester cruised through the next three innings and got out of a jam in the fifth. But Detroit finally broke through in the sixth.
Lester walked Cabrera with one out, then hit Fielder with a pitch. Martinez kept the inning alive with his hustle. Drew handled his grounder in the hole and fired to Dustin Pedroia at second, but Martinez just beat the relay throw to first.
Peralta followed and hit a 2-2 hanging curveball to center field, scoring Cabrera.
Sanchez battled with command in the sixth and Boston had a chance to at least tie it.
Pedroia worked a one-out walk. With two outs, Sanchez walked Napoli and Nava to load the bases.
Drew came up. He took the first pitch for a ball, then fouled off three straight pitches. He swung and missed at a slider, and Sanchez had his 12th strikeout, with six walks and no hits.
Lester got one out in the seventh but then hit Iglesias in the foot. That ended his night. Junichi Tazawa relieved. Iglesias reached second on a groundout, but Tazawa got Torii Hunter to fly to right.
Al Alburquerque relieved Sanchez to begin the seventh. Boston sent up left-handed pinch hitters, but Mike Carp grounded out and Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out. Ellsbury then struck out for the third time.
Craig Breslow relieved in the eighth. He walked Fielder and gave up a two-out double to Peralta, then intentionally walked Infante. Avila flied out to end it.
Jose Veras relieved in the eighth and set down Victorino and Pedroia. Smyly was called on to face Ortiz and got him to fly out.
In the ninth, Benoit struck out Napoli before yielding the single to Nava. Nava fell behind 1-2 and fouled off three pitches before his hit. But the rally soon fizzled.
“At this point, it’s not about throwing a no-hitter,” Sanchez said. “The win is more important.”
And now the Red Sox are down a game.
“We didn’t do what we needed to do tonight,” Victorino said. “We've just got to stay focused. It’s a seven-game series.”
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