The Detroit Tigers defeated the Boston Red Sox 1-0 in Game 1 of the ALCS, carrying a combined no-hitter into the ninth inning. The game nearly lasted four hours despite the lack of offense, and produced many moments worthy of a GIF.
Anibal Sanchez tossed six no-hit innings, recording 12 of his 18 outs with strikeouts. His biggest punch-out came during the bottom of the sixth; the starter had walked the bases loaded, including consecutive two-out free passes. Sanchez recovered to strikeout Stephen Drew, stranding three runners and celebrating the moment in style:
Red Sox hitters probably think Sanchez received some aid from the umpires. David Ortiz was called out on a check swing during in the first, when his bat barely crossed the plate:
Mike Napoli was rung up on a similar call later in the game:
Detroit pitchers combined to strike out 17 Boston hitters, setting a franchise record for postseason strikeouts in a game. Dustin Pedroia went down looking on a Jose Veras fastball in the eighth inning that just caught the outside corner of the plate, and expressed his frustration with the call and the pitch after the play:
The RBI-single helped make up for Peralta's earlier error. He led off the fifth inning with a double, but Napoli picked Peralta off second base on an Omar Infante groundball:
Infante made a critical baserunning blunder of his own later in the inning. The second baseman tried to score on a Jose Iglesias grounder to third, but Will Middlebrooks gunned Infante out at the plate, momentarily keeping the Tigers off the scoreboard.
Detroit's baserunning helped squander scoring opportunities, but the Red Sox defense did their best to keep the game close. Drew made a spectacular catch in the top of the ninth, running down a Prince Fielder fly ball and saving two runs.
Boston could not take advantage of a strong performance by their pitching and defense, who limited a dangerous offense to one run. The Red Sox only hit of the game came on a Daniel Nava single with one out in the ninth, which caused the manual scoreboard to receive a key update with only two outs remaining.
Avoiding a no-hitter is not the playoff accomplishment the Red Sox had hoped for during Game 1 of the ALCS. Fielder attempted to comfort Shane Victorino with a hug during the bottom of the sixth inning, letting the outfielder know that he understands his pain.
Victorino did not seem to appreciate Fielder's display of affection, clearly not wishing to fraternize with the enemy during the tension-filled game. Red Sox fans, however, would likely appreciate less tension and more hits from their offense in Game 2.