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Tigers come close to notching a no-hitter

Updated: 2013-10-14 06:34
By Reuters in Boston ( China Daily)

Sanchez, bullpen combine to limit Red Sox to just a single

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 ERA leader at 2.57, stymied the Red Sox with a tantalizing assortment of pitches which he moved around the strike zone.

He the tone by striking out four Boston batters 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 worst jam Sanchez 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.

The Venezuelan struck out 12 and walked six before leaving the game after six innings and 116 pitches, 66 of which were strikes.

 Tigers come close to notching a no-hitter

Detroit Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez unleashes during Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston on Saturday. Detroit won 1-0. Bob DeChiara / USA Today Sports

(China Daily 10/14/2013 page24)