The Detroit Tigers had their ace Justin Verlander on the mound tonight, but the Boston Red Sox prevailed.
John Lackey out-dueled Verlander in the 1-0 decision, allowing the Red Sox to take a 2-1 lead in the 2013 American League Championship Series.
First baseman Mike Napoli’s solo home run in the top of the 7th inning was the difference in the game. Winning pitcher Lackey tossed 6.2 innings with eight strikeouts, giving up four hits. Verlander pitched eight full innings, striking out 10, and also giving up only four hits.
The game also featured a 17-minute power outage, leaving fans wondering if the bankrupt city of Detroit failed to pay its electric bill. The way Tigers’ pitching has dominated the Red Sox, Boston also seems to be suffering a power outage, yet they have somehow managed to win two of the first three games in the ALCS. Each game has been decided by one run.
Detroit pitchers have struck out Red Sox batters an incredible 43 times over the first three games. As a team, the Red Sox are batting.133 against the Tigers in the series.
The conventional wisdom has been proved wrong in the first three games. The expectation was that the Red Sox would win game one; instead they managed only one hit while losing to Annibal Sanchez and the Tigers bullpen. Twenty-one game winner Max Scherzer was expected to dominate the Sox in game two on Sunday Night, which proved accurate over 5-2/3 innings. That was before the stunning comeback by the Sox, including the David Ortiz grand slam in the 8th inning against closer Joaquin Benoit, and Saltalamacchia’s walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th.
The Tigers threatened in the 8th with two men on tonight, but reliever Junichi Tazawa struck out 2012 MVP Miguel Cabrera, and lights-out closer Koji Uehara did the same to Prince Fielder. The Tigers threatened in the 9th, but Uehara induced a double play, followed by a strikeout of Alex Avila.
Winning games by a score of 1-0 is hardly an everyday occurrence for the Boston Red Sox. According to WEEI.com, “The Sox bullpen followed Lackey with 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing the Sox to claim their first 1-0 victory of the 2013 season, and the third 1-0 win in franchise postseason history (with the other two coming in Game 1 of the 1986 World Series and Game 1 of the 1918 World Series).”
The Detroit Tigers take on the Red Sox tomorrow night in game four at Comerica Park.
[Image credit: Keith Allison]