Mike Napoli hit a solo home run off Anibal Sanchez to lead off the second inning before Boston tacked on two more runs with RBIs from David Ross and Jacoby Ellsbury to take a 3-0 lead over the Tigers in Game 5 of the ALCS.
Sanchez kicked Thursday off right where he left off in Game 1, striking out Jacoby Ellsbury, but he failed to recreate the no-hitter drama of his first ALCS start for more than a couple of at-bats when Dustin Pedroia delivered a two-out base hit in the first inning.
The Tigers starter ran in trouble in the second, however. After Napoli's home run, a Miguel Cabrera error allowed Jonny Gomes to reach. Sanchez struck out Stephen Drew, but then gave up back-to-back doubles to Xander Bogaerts and David Ross. Ellsbury then plated Bogaerts with an infield single to bring the Red Sox lead up to three. Infielder Omar Infante helped stop the bleeding, getting David Ross at home on a Shane Victorino grounder, and then Sanchez got Pedroia to ground out to end the inning.
Jon Lester struggled some in the first inning, but he was saved by some poor base running from the Tigers. Lester walked Miguel Cabrera with one out and then gave up a single to Prince Fielder to put Cabrera in scoring position. After getting Martinez to fly out, Lester gave up a single to Jhonny Peralta. Despite the injuries to his groin and abdominal slowing him down, Cabrera attempted to score from second, getting thrown out by a wide margin to end the inning. Lester gave up one hit in the second, but kept the Tigers off the board.