2013 American League Championship Series
From BR Bullpen
|2013 American League Championship Series|
|Boston Red Sox
97 - 65 in the AL
|4 - 2
93 - 69 in the AL
 The Teams
Boston Red Sox
 Series results
|1||Detroit Tigers 1 Boston Red Sox 0||October 12||Anibal Sanchez (1-0) Jon Lester (0-1)||8:07 pm|
|2||Detroit Tigers 5 Boston Red Sox 6||October 13||Max Scherzer (0-0) Clay Buchholz (0-0)||8:07 pm|
|3||Boston Red Sox 1 Detroit Tigers 0||October 15||John Lackey (1-0) Justin Verlander (0-1)||4:07 pm|
|4||Boston Red Sox 3 Detroit Tigers 7||October 16||Jake Peavy (0-1) Doug Fister (1-0)||8:07 pm|
|5||Boston Red Sox 4 Detroit Tigers 3||October 17||Jon Lester (1-1) Anibal Sanchez (1-1)||8:07 pm|
|6||Detroit Tigers 2 Boston Red Sox 5||October 19||Max Scherzer (0-1) Clay Buchholz (0-0)||8:07 pm|
 Game 1 @ Fenway Park
|WP: Anibal Sanchez (1-0) , LP: Jon Lester (0-1), SV: Joaquin Benoit (1)|
|Home Runs: - none|
- Attendance: 38,210
The Detroit Tigers took Game 1 of the ALCS behind a fantastic performance by starter Anibal Sanchez, a former Red Sox prospect. Sanchez set the tone in the 1st inning, when he struck out four batters in one inning - Shane Victorino reached on a wild pitch after striking out and Dustin Pedroia drew a walk, but Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli all went down on strikes. Sanchez became only the second pitcher in history to pull off the feat in the postseason, after Orval Overall for the Chicago Cubs in Game 5 of the 1908 World Series. The inning epitomized Sanchez's evening on the mound: overpowering stuff that led to a ton of strikeouts, but married with a bit of wildness. In six innings, he gave up no hits, walked 6, but struck out 12, keeping the Sox off the scoreboard. In the 6th, he walked the bases full with two outs, but struck out Stephen Drew to leave them all stranded, then left the game, having thrown 116 pitches.
By then the Tigers had scored the only run they would need. Sanchez's opponent, Jon Lester, was also very good - he gave up only 6 hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings - but the Tigers managed to get a run in the 6th. Miguel Cabrera drew a one-out walk and Prince Fielder was hit by a pitch; a ground out by Victor Martinez advanced both runners and Jhonny Peralta hit a soft single to center for the only run of the game. After Sanchez left, Al Alburquerque, Jose Veras and Drew Smyly kept the no-hitter going until the 9th inning. Joaquin Benoit was sent into the game to close the game. He struck out Napoli but Daniel Nava followed with a single for the Red Sox's first and only hit of the game. Quintin Berry was sent in to run for Nava and Stephen Drew flied out for the second out. Berry stole second to move into scoring position, but rookie Xander Bogaerts popped up to SS Jose Iglesias to end the game.
 Game 2 @ Fenway Park
|WP: Koji Uehara (1-0), LP: Rick Porcello (0-1)|
|Home Runs: DET - Miguel Cabrera (1), Alex Avila (1); BOS - David Ortiz (1)|
- Attendance: 38,029
For a time in Game 2 of the ALCS, the Boston Red Sox looked to every one like a sinking ship. Badly needing to even the series after losing Game 1 at home, the Sox were being stymied by Max Scherzer. In the middle of the 6th, The Tigers were ahead, 5-0, and Scherzer had not yet given up a hit while striking out opponents in bunches. And while the Red Sox did score one run on two hits in the 6th, Scherzer completed his day's work with 7 innings, 2 hits allowed, 13 strikeouts and a 5-1 lead. Yet, the Red Sox managed to come back, win the game, and keep all of their chances in the series.
The Tigers took an early lead against Clay Buchholz, scoring a first run in the 2nd as Victor Martinez doubled with one out, and Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila followed with singles. They then struck a huge blow in the 6th, with 4 runs. Miguel Cabrera opened things by homering with one out, then Prince Fielder and Martinez hit back-to-back doubles for a second run. After Peralta had lined out, Avila homered to right field for a 5-0 lead. Omar Infante followed with a single, ending Buchholtz's day as Brandon Workman came into the game. The Red Sox's bullpen was in a good day however: Workman, Felix Doubront and Koji Uehara would combine for 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing the Sox's offense to come back.
That comeback started relatively meekly, as Shane Victorino singled with two outs in the bottom of the 6th for Boston's first hit of the game. Dustin Pedroia followed with a double, and the speedy Victorino scored. But Scherzer was still pitching, and he retired the Red Sox in order in the bottom of the 7th. Boston was then four runs down with 6 outs to go, but now Scherzer was done, and his bullpen would be awful, spoiling his outstanding performance. Jose Veras got Stephen Drew to ground out for the first out in the 8th, but Will Middlebrooks followed with a double. Jim Leyland decided to change horses, but Drew Smyly then walked Jacoby Ellsbury. In came Al Alburquerque, and he struck out Victorino for the second out, but allowed a single to Pedroia to load the bases. Still unable to rest his confidence in one pitcher, Leyland brought in his fourth hurler of the inning, closer Joaquin Benoit, but disaster struck for him as David Ortiz hit a grand slam to right. RF Torii Hunter raced towards the fence at full speed, and toppled over it in trying vainly to catch the ball. Leyland admitted after the game that he had been wrong to bring in Benoit in this situation, and that he should also have reminded him that it was okay to walk Ortiz, because forcing in a single run was not the main issue at that point. In any case, the game was now tied. Uehara retired the Tigers in order in the top of the 9th, and Leyland called for yet another pitcher to start the bottom of the inning, Rick Porcello; he was just as ineffective as his predecessors. The first batter he faced, Jonny Gomes, hit a single, then Porcello threw a wild pitch to place him in scoring position. Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with a single to left, and Gomes scored to end the game and stun the Tigers, sending the two teams back to Detroit tied at one win each.
 Game 3 @ Comerica Park
|WP: John Lackey (1-0), LP: Justin Verlander (0-1), SV: Koji Uehara (1)|
|Home Runs: BOS - Mike Napoli (1)|
- Attendance: 42,327
Game 3 was another nail-biter, and like Game 1 featured a top-notch pitching duel, with Justin Verlander going for the Tigers and John Lackey for the Red Sox, both veterans with lots of big game experience. Verlander continued his postseason-long dominance - unfortunately coupled with his teammates' inability to score for him. In his two ALDS starts, he had given up no runs over 15 innings while striking out 21 opponents, and today he added 8 innings during which he struck out 10 opponents and gave up just one run. But for all of his tremendous efforts, the Tigers were 1-2 in the games he started, having failed to score any runs in Game 2 of the ALDS, when he ended up with a no-decision, and again today, when the one run he did allow was enough to peg him with a loss. He had started out with a roar, striking out 6 consecutive batters after walking David Ortiz to start the 2nd; that tied a postseason record, and the dominance continued as he retired 14 of the first 15 batters he faced and had a two-hit shutout going as he started the 7th.
Lackey was almost as dominant over the first 6 innings, as he had not given up any runs either, allowing only 3 hits and no walks. He had struck out 8 batters to boot. With one out in the 7th, Mike Napoli decided the outcome of the game when he homered over the left field wall on a full count; he had struck out in his first two at-bats, and had homered once in his career off the Tigers' ace, although that was a memorable time, as it had come in his first big league at-bat, on May 4, 2006. Verlander struck out the next two batters after giving up the bomb, but the damage was done. Lackey got two more outs in the bottom of the 7th, then left with Victor Martinez on first, having thrown 97 pitches. Craig Breslow got the last out of the inning, then allowed a one-out walk to Austin Jackson in the 8th. Junichi Tazawa replaced him but allowed a single to Torii Hunter that placed Jackson on third base. Miguel Cabrera came up but he struck out, ending a record streak of 31 consecutive postseason games in which he had reached base on either a walk or a hit, dating back to 2003. Boston manager John Farrell then called on his closer, Koji Uehara to face Prince Fielder, and he got him to strike out on a foul tip. The Tigers had squandered their best scoring opportunity of the game.
Apparently not having learned anything from his relentless shuffling of pitchers in the 8th inning of Game 2, Tigers skipper Jim Leyland used three relievers to get the three outs in the top of the 9th - even though the Red Sox went down in order. Victor Martinez then led off the bottom of the 9th by lining a single to left. He was replaced by pinch-runner Hernan Perez, but Jhonny Peralta immediately hit a ground ball to SS Stephen Drew, who started a double play. Uehara then struck out Alex Avila to end the game.
 Game 4 @ Comerica Park
|WP: Doug Fister (1-0), LP: Jake Peavy (0-1)|
|Home Runs: - none|
- Attendance: 42,765
Tigers manager Jim Leyland decided to shuffle his line-up prior to Game 4, and it paid immediate dividends. Two of his best hitters all year, Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera, moved up to the first two spots of the batting order, while the struggling Austin Jackson, who had been the lead-off hitter until then, batted 8th. All three players would make a big contribution to the Tigers' 7-3 win that evened the series at two wins apiece. Another big contributor was starter Doug Fister, a bit of a forgotten man during the season behind the excellence of the Big Three of Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez, but someone who had been a consistent winner for Detroit since his acquisition from the Seattle Mariners midway through the 2011 season. Today, he pitched 6 strong innings, giving up only one run on 8 hits and a walk while striking out 7. His opponent, Jake Peavy, was nowhere near as good. After a good 1st inning, the Tigers got to him in the 2nd, and by the time the inning was over, the game was practically decided. Victor Martinez opened the inning with a single and Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila drew back-to-back walks to load the bases with none out. Omar Infante flied out to shallow center, but Peavy issued his third free pass of the inning, to Jackson, to force in a run. Jose Iglesias grounded into a force out for the second out, but Peralta came in to score. Hunter followed with a double, driving in two more, then Cabrera singled and the score was now 5-0 in favor of Detroit.
The Tigers were back at it in the 4th, which Infante led off with an automatic double; Jackson followed with a single to make the score 6-0 and ended Peavy's day. Brandon Workman came to the mound and Jackson stole second and then moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Iglesias. Cabrera then drove in Jackson with a two-out single and the lead was now an almost insurmountable 7-0. The Red Sox finally got on the scoreboard in the 6th, when Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia all singled with one out. However, Fister retired the next two hitters, limiting the damage to a single run. Leyland used his familiar shuffle of relief pitchers starting in the 7th and Shane Victorino doubled in Jacoby Ellsbury for the second Boston run. Three pitchers were used by Detroit in that inning, but the score was still 7-2 at the end of it. Uncharacteristically, Leyland let Drew Smyly, who had retired the last two hitters in the 7th, pitch the 8th, and he got the Sox out in order. Joaquin Benoit came out for the 9th and gave up one last run, as the first two batters he faced, Xander Bogaerts and Ellsbury, hit a double and triple respectively. But Benoit struck out the next two men and got David Ortiz, his Game 2 nemesis, to fly out to right to end the game, stranding Ellsbury on third base.
 Game 5 @ Comerica Park
|WP: Jon Lester (1-1), LP: Anibal Sanchez (1-1), SV: Koji Uehara (2)|
|Home Runs: BOS - Mike Napoli (2)|
- Attendance: 42,669
The Red Sox jumped out early against Game 2 winner Anibal Sanchez, and managed to hold on for a 4-3 win as Detroit slowly grinded away at its lead. Jon Lester, who was the unlucky loser to Sanchez in his first start of the Series, got off to a good start for Boston, keeping the Tigers, who were still using their re-vamped line-up from Game 4, from scoring early. However, it took Miguel Cabrera being thrown out at home, trying to score from second base on Jhonny Peralta's 1st inning single to left. Meanwhile, Lester's teammates gave him a quick lead as they tallied 3 runs in the 2nd inning. Mike Napoli started things off with a homer off Sanchez, then Jonny Gomes reached on an error by 3B Cabrera. After Sanchez struck out Stephen Drew, Xander Bogaerts doubled to place runners on second and third. Gomes scored on a double by David Ross, but Bogaerts stopped at third; a single by Jacoby Ellsbury drove him in, then Ross tried to score a fourth run on a ground ball by Shane Victorino. He was out at home, but C Alex Avila injured his knee in the collision. The Sox then added another run, which would prove to be crucial, in the 3rd. Napoli hit a ground-rule double with one out, advanced to third on a grounder by Jonny Gomes and scored when Sanchez threw a wild pitch.
Working with a 4-0 lead, Lester shut out the Tigers in the 4th, but not before showing more signs of vulnerability, as it took pinch-hitter Brayan Pena, hitting in place of the injured Avila, grounding into a double play for him to escape the inning. In the 5th, Austin Jackson singled to lead off the inning and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jose Iglesias and later scored on a single by Cabrera. In the 6th, Victor Martinez walked and Omar Infante singled with one out, pushing manager John Farrell to bring in reliever Junichi Tazawa. He allowed a single to Pena, and it was now 4-2. The Tigers trimmed the lead some more in the 7th, as Iglesias and Hunter opened the frame with back-to-back singles, Iglesias taking third. Cabrera then grounded into a double play, but the Bengals' defensive whiz scored to make the score 4-3.
Sanchez had left the game after 6 innings, and three relievers - Phil Coke, Jose Veras and Al Alburquerque - kept the Sox from adding to their lead, in spite of putting a number of runners on base over the last three innings. For the Sox, lefty Craig Breslow got the last out in the 7th and the first in the 8th, then Farrell decided to call on his closer, Koji Uehara, earlier than usual. The Japanese hurler needed to get five outs, and he did so in the cleanest possible fashion, retiring all five batters he faced, one on strikes and four on fly balls to put the Red Sox within one win of the World Series.
 Game 6 @ Fenway Park
|WP: Junichi Tazawa (1-0), LP: Max Scherzer (0-1), SV: Koji Uehara (3)|
|Home Runs: BOS - Shane Victorino (1)|
- Attendance: 38,823
Game 6 was as close to a repeat of Game 2 as can be, down to the outcome, a win by the Red Sox propelled by a late-game grand slam. Max Scherzer and Clay Buchholz were again facing each other on the mound and kept the affair low-scoring during the first few innings. The best scoring chance came for Boston in the 3rd, when Xander Bogaerts and Jacoby Ellsbury drew back-to-back walks to open the inning; Shane Victorino attempted a sacrifice bunt but popped up instead and Scherzer made a nice sliding catch in front of the mound to record the first out. The next batter, Dustin Pedroia, hit a huge fly ball that was just foul in left field - video review was needed - then grounded to third as 3B Miguel Cabrera started an inning-ending double play. For their part, the Tigers, did not get anything going against Buchholz in the first five innings.
The Red Sox opened the scoring in the bottom of the 5th when after two outs, Bogaerts crushed a ball off the Green Monster in left-center, good for a double, only Boston's second hit off Scherzer. Ellsbury followed with a single, scoring Bogaerts, but was then caught stealing to end the inning. Detroit replied immediately. Torii Hunter walked to lead off the 6th, then Cabrera singled. Mindful of how quickly Buchholz had fallen apart in the 6th inning of Game 2, Sox manager John Farrell did not hesitate to replace him, bringing in the lefty Franklin Morales. However, Morales threw four straight balls to Prince Fielder, and when he finally got a pitch over the plate, Victor Martinez hit a two-run single, moving Fielder to third. Brandon Workman replaced Morales, and Jhonny Peralta hit a ball straight at 2B Pedroia, who was playing in. He tagged Martinez for the first out, then threw home where, in a huge baserunning mistake, Fielder was caught in a rundown and tagged out by C Jarrod Saltalamacchia as he attempted to dive back into third. The Tigers had just run themselves out of a potential big inning; Peralta had taken second on the play and gave way to pinch-runner Don Kelly, a better defensive player, but Workman struck out Alex Avila to end the inning. The Tigers were now up, 2-1, but the Sox felt they had escaped from potential disaster.
Scherzer was uncharacteristically wild to open the 6th, hitting Victorino with a pitch and then walking Pedroia, before throwing a wild pitch later in the frame, but he escaped without giving up any runs, thanks to a strikeout and a pair of shallow fly balls. In the 7th, the Tigers squandered another chance when Austin Jackson was picked-off at first base by Workman; Jose Iglesias followed with an infield single and Hunter surprised Workman with a bunt, which slipped out of his bare hand for an error. Junichi Tazawa came in to pitch and Cabrera hit a sharp grounder down the middle on which SS Stephen Drew not only made a diving stop, but got up and threw out Cabrera at first base for the third out. Scherzer then ran out of gas in the 7th. Jonny Gomes led off with a double that hit only six inches below the top of the Green Monster, and after an out, Bogaerts, showing tremendous poise for a raw rookie, drew another walk on a full count. Jim Leyland removed his ace in favor of Drew Smyly and the lefty got Ellsbury to hit a grounder up the middle. SS Iglesias ran to the ball, gloved it in a full run, but in trying to flip the ball to 2B Omar Infante to start a potential double play, had the ball slip out of his hand and everyone was safe. Iglesias was charged with an error, even though the play was anything from routine. True to his habit, Leyland changed pitchers, bringing Jose Veras with the bases now loaded, but after getting two strikes on Victorino, his next pitch was in the middle of the strike zone and the Hawaiian pulled it over the Monster for a grand slam. The score was now 5-2, and the Tigers were crushed.
Craig Breslow pitched a perfect 8th inning for the Sox, with Kelly having to bat now that Peralta was out of the game. Al Alburquerque struck out the side in the bottom of the 8th, but by now the Red Sox were not trying to increase their lead. They knew they had the almost unhittable Koji Uehara warming up, and he came out firing, striking out Avila on three pitches. Infante tried to surprise him by bunting, but the Japanese veteran picked up the ball himself and fired to first for the second out. Jackson followed with an infield single, a ball just out of the reach of Drew, but Uehara struck out Iglesias to end the game and send the Red Sox to the 2013 World Series. Having won one game and saved three in the the tightly-played series, Uehara was named the Championship Series MVP.
 Further Reading
- The Boston Globe: For Boston: From Worst to First, the Improbable Dream Season of the 2013 Red Sox, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2013. ISBN 978-1600788925.
- The Boston Globe: Livin' the Dream: A Celebration of the World Champion 2013 Boston Red Sox, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2013. ISBN 978-1600789854
 Related Sites
|Major League Baseball American League Championship Series