October 16, 2013

ALCS4: Tigers 7, Red Sox 3

Red Sox - 000 001 101 - 3 12  0
Tigers  - 050 200 00x - 7  9  0
The ALCS is now a best-of-three, with the possibility of two games at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox's offense - which batted only .133 (with 43 strikeouts) through the first three games - returned on Wednesday night, in hits, if not runs scored. Boston put at least one man on base in eight of nine innings, but failed to get them home in the clutch. They left 10 men on base, six of them on either second or third. They were a mere 2-for-16 with runners at second and/or third.

Jake Peavy (3-5-7-3-1, 65) pitched two perfect innings, the first and third. It was his second frame that sunk the Sox. Peavy gave up three hits and walked three batters, including one with the bases loaded. He threw 32 pitches as the Tigers batted around. (Peavy also allowed hits to the first two batters in the fourth, both of whom later scored.)

Victor Martinez lined an opposite field single to begin the Detroit second. Peavy walked Jhonny Peralta on four pitches and he walked Alex Avila to load the bases. After Jacoby Ellsbury made a tumbling catch of Omar Infante's shallow fly to center, Peavy walked Austin Jackson (3-for-33 in the postseason) on four pitches to force in the Tigers' first run. Jose Iglesias then grounded sharply to second. Dustin Pedroia did not make a clean grab of the ball and could get only the force at second base (instead of an inning-ending double play), as another run scored. Torii Hunter ripped a two-run double to left and Miguel Cabrera followed with an RBI-single to center.

Brandon Workman allowed Peavy's two base runners in the fourth to score as Detroit opened a 7-0 lead. Events reached their nadir in that inning as the gimpy Cabrera stole second base without a throw, never speeding up faster than a jog.

The Boston side of the scorecard was littered with squandered chances to score. Mike Napoli doubled to open the second inning and advanced to third base on a groundout. However, he stood there as Jarrod Saltalamacchia fouled out to third and Stephen Drew struck out looking.

In the third, David Ortiz batted with runners at first and second, and ended the inning with a weak grounder to second. In the fifth, Ellsbury (who ended the night 4-for-5) doubled with one out. But he was stranded as Shane Victorino popped to short and Pedroia grounded to third.

The Red Sox got on the board in the sixth on three consecutive singles by Napoli, Daniel Nava, and Saltalamacchia. The seventh inning (against the Tigers' bullpen) started nicely as Ellsbury singled off Phil Coke and Victorino, facing Al Alburquerque, doubled him home. But Pedroia grounded to third and Doug Smyly came in to retire Ortiz (another grounder to second) and Napoli (popup to first).

Boston went in order in the eighth. In the ninth, Xander Bogaerts hit a ground-rule double to right and scored on Ellsbury's triple. But Victorino and Pedroia both struck out, and Ortiz flied to right.

In addition to Ellsbury's excellent night at the plate, Napoli and Salty each had two hits.

Thursday night's Game 5 will be a rematch of Game 1 (Jon Lester/Anibal Sanchez).
Jake Peavy / Doug Fister
Ellsbury, CF
Victorino, RF
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Napoli, 1B
Nava, LF
Saltalamacchia, C
Drew, SS
Middlebrooks, 3B
Pivotal game: Either the Red Sox go up 3-1 or the series is tied 2-2.

The Tigers have shuffled their lineup, dropping leadoff hitter Austin Jackson to eighth and moving Torii Hunter into the #1 spot. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are now hitting #2 and #3.



Jere said...

The offense was back, like you said, yet MLB's headline is "Peavy's rough start, Sox's lack of offense even ALCS." Have they watched any games in this series at all??

Rick said...

All I need to win the ALCS contest is the Red Sox to win 2 out of 3, scoring 22 runs against Sanchez, Scherzer, and Verlander.