Boston avoids being no-hit, but still loses Game 1 to Tigers
Anibal Sanchez was dealing from the start, recording four strikeouts in the first innings, thanks to a ball getting away on a strike three. He also walked a batter in the 1st, which would become a trend.
Jon Lester, meanwhile, was pitching much more efficiently than Sanchez, but in the 6th Jhonny Peralta hit a single to score Miguel Cabrera and put the Tigers up 1-0.
Meanwhile, Sanchez kept striking people out. He also kept walking people. He also hadn't given up a hit yet going into the 6th. The walking though continued. Sanchez walked the bases loaded, but escaped yet again by striking out Stephen Drew. Sanchez was done after that with a crazy line of 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 6 BB, 12 K.
Al Alburquerque came in to pitch the 7th and got a three-up, three-down inning with two more strikeouts. That was now 14 whiffs for Boston, many of them looking. I'll all for patience at the plate, but there's such a thing as too passive, and at times that was Boston hitters. They got no help from umpire Joe West either on that front.
It was up to the Boston bullpen too, and they certainly made it interesting as Detroit tried to add to the lead. Craig Breslow loaded the bases in the 8th, but saved the day by getting Alex Aliva to fly out. In the 9th, it was Koji Uehara who put runners on 2nd and 3rd, but Stephen Drew made a great over-the-shoulder catch to end the inning and keep it 1-0.
Jose Veras and Drew Smyly took care of the 8th for Detroit with no hits and two more strikeouts. Thus, the game and the no-hitter turned to closer Joaquin Benoit. He got Napoli to strike out looking to start (the 17th strikeout by a Boston hitter in the game). Then, Daniel Nava came up to the plate.
The no-hitter was gone, and worse for the Tigers, pinch runner extraordinaire Quintin Berry was now in to run. After Stephen Drew flied out for the second out, Berry stole second like everyone knew he would. Xander Bogaerts couldn't get it done though, popping up to short to end the game.
The Tigers didn't get the no-hitter, but they do have a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 is tonight and boy is the pitching matchup a doozy. Max Scherzer vs. Clay Buchholz. It has the makings of another classic.