Tigers beat Red Sox in near no-hitter

Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:11am EDT
 
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(Reuters) - The Detroit Tigers beat the Boston Red Sox 1-0, nearly posting a rare postseason no-hitter in capturing the opening game of the best-of-seven American League Championship Series on Saturday.

Starter Anibal Sanchez and relievers Al Alburquerque, Jose Veras, Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit combined to keep the Red Sox without a hit until Daniel Nava dumped a single to center off Benoit with one out in the bottom of the ninth.

Pinch-runner Quintin Berry stole second base after Stephen Drew had flied out to right field but rookie Xander Bogaerts hit a towering pop-out to shortstop Jose Iglesias to end it.

The five Detroit pitchers bamboozled Boston batters in registering a total of 17 strikeouts at Fenway Park.

"It's unbelievable today with the pitchers," said Jhonny Peralta, the hitting star for Detroit.

Peralta, who rejoined the Tigers for the playoffs after serving a 50-game doping suspension, went 3-for-4 and drove in the game's only run in the sixth inning with a soft single to center off Boston starter Jon Lester that scored Miguel Cabrera.

Sanchez, the AL earned run leader at 2.57, set the tone from the start striking out four Red Sox hitters in the first inning, a feat enabled when a third strike got past catcher Alex Avila for a wild pitch that allowed Shane Victorino to reach first.

The Venezuelan stymied the Red Sox with a tantalizing assortment of pitches, all of which he moved around the strike zone at varying speeds.

The worst jam he faced was of his own doing, as he walked three batters in Boston's half of the sixth before striking out Drew to escape damage.   Continued...

 
Oct 12, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland congratulates pitcher Joaquin Benoit (53) after defeating the Boston Red Sox 1-0 in game one of the American League Championship Series baseball game at Fenway Park. The Detroit Tigers won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports