If you saw a box score of ALCS Game 1 that read 6 walks for Anibal Sanchez, you would probably assume the result was a Red Sox blow-out. To the contrary, Sanchez was dominant. The Detroit Tigers Game 1 start turned in one of the strangest final lines you’ll see in a baseball box score. Sanchez pitched 6 scoreless and hitless innings while walking 6 and striking out 12. When the skipper Jim Leyland relieved Sanchez of his duties he had a no-hitter going. But Sanchez had thrown 111 pitches and just worked out of a bases loaded jam in which all the base runners he walked.
You’d think the Red Sox would have been excited to see someone other than Sanchez pitching in the seventh. But the pitching mojo spread to the Tigers bullpen. Al Alburquerque came in and pitched a hitless seventh, Drew Smyly and Jose Veras teamed up for a hitless eighth. Then Joaquin Benoit entered the ninth inning to save the game and complete the first combined no-hitter in postseason history. Benoit wasn’t able to get the no-hitter but did the save securing the Tigers 1-0 victory.
Boston’s pitchers were also dominant. The difference is the Tigers were able to score. Jhonny Peralta was the hero again getting a single in the sixth scoring Miguel Cabrera. Peralta was 3 for 4 with a double before being pulled in favor of a pinch runner in the top of the seventh inning. The next chance the Tigers was in the top of the ninth but Prince Fielder was out non a dying quail to center field to end the threat.
The Tigers take a 1-0 series lead with the victory with their top two pitchers lined up to pitch games 2 and 3. Max Scherzer will face Clay Buchholz on Sunday. Justin Verlander will face John Lackey in Game 3.