Tigers nearly no-hit Red Sox, win ALCS opener 1-0

Tigers nearly no-hit Red Sox, win ALCS opener 1-0
October 13, 2013, 12:15 am
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Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez (19) pitches during the first inning in game one of the American League Championship Series baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

(Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox finally got a hit with one out in the ninth inning.

Too little, too late.

Daniel Nava's clean single to center field for the highest-scoring team in the majors this season broke up Detroit's bid for the third no-hitter in postseason history but couldn't spark a rally as the Red Sox lost 1-0 in Game 1 of the AL championship series Saturday night.

Game 2 is Sunday night with Max Scherzer pitching for Detroit against Clay Buchholz.

The Red Sox set a club postseason record by striking out 17 times in a game. They did draw six walks -- all against starter Anibal Sanchez, who left after six innings. Sanchez also threw two wild pitches.

Relievers Al Alburquerque, Drew Smyly and Jose Veras held the Red Sox hitless the next two innings and closer Joaquin Benoit struck out Mike Napoli leading off the ninth. Then Nava got Boston's only hit.

It was a bad night from the start for the Red Sox.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off the first by striking out. Shane Victorino followed with another strikeout but reached first on a wild pitch then stole second.

No problem for Sanchez, who led the AL in ERA.

After walking Dustin Pedroia, he struck out the next two batters to become the second pitcher in postseason history to fan four hitters in an inning. Orval Overall of the Chicago Cubs did it in Game 5 of the 1908 World Series.

Sanchez left after striking out 12 in six innings. But the whiffs kept coming.

Boston fanned twice in the seventh against Alburquerque and twice more in the eighth against Veras.

The Red Sox had their chances earlier.

They left runners at second in each of the first two innings then went down in order in each of the next three before leaving the bases loaded in the sixth.