Wounded Tigers aim to get past another painful loss

Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:02pm EDT
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(Reuters) - The Detroit Tigers got another superlative effort from their starting pitcher but a toothless attack left them 2-1 down to the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.

Justin Verlander held Boston without a hit until Jonny Gomes reached on an infield single with two outs in the fifth, but a home run by Mike Napoli was all Boston starter John Lackey and three relievers needed to register a 1-0 victory in Detroit.

"Just come to expect that in this series," said Verlander, who had thrown 34-1/3 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to the regular season until Napoli's blast.

"It's going to be a battle for every single out, every single run. It's two heavyweights going at it. If you can't appreciate this you can't appreciate baseball."

In Game Two, the Tigers led 5-1 before the bullpen coughed up the lead with a grand slam homer by David Ortiz in the eighth tying it, and a single by Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the ninth ending it.

Detroit starting pitching, however, has been remarkable so far in this final hurdle on the way to the World Series.

Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer have combined to pitch 21 innings, yielding a total of two runs and six hits, while striking out 35.

"It's been an amazing first three games," added Verlander. "A tough one today, but we'll bounce back just as we have all year and hopefully even the series tomorrow."

Detroit will send Doug Fister (14-9) to the mound against Boston's Jake Peavy (12-5) in Wednesday's Game Four at Comerica Park.   Continued...