For the first time in the 2013 ALCS, the Red Sox were able to carve out an early lead against a Detroit starter, but in the end, they were barely able to hang on, winning 4-3 after a late Tigers rally.
Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez wasn't the same unhittable force in this game that held the Red Sox hitless for seven innings in Game 1. He allowed four runs, three earned, on nine hits and no walks while striking out five over six innings.
The Tigers' righty ran into trouble in the second, giving up a lead-off home run to Mike Napoli. A Miguel Cabrera error helped make it an extend the inning after Napoli's shot, but Sanchez also allowed two doubles and an infield single in the inning to give Boston a 3-0 lead. Boston picked up another run in the third when Napoli came in to score on a wild pitch.
While the Red Sox were able to get to Sanchez early, Jon Lester held the Tigers scoreless until the fifth, finishing the night with 5 1/3 innings pitched, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks with three strikeouts. He got a bit of help from Miguel Cabrera in the first inning when the injured Tigers star ran through a late stop sign and was thrown out at home to end the first inning. He also got some important assistance from his defense, getting a key double play in the fourth despite making a poor throw to shortstop Stephen Drew to start it. Miguel Cabrera beat him for a two-out, RBI single in the fifth and Brayan Pena added the second Tiger run in the sixth with another RBI-single
Lester was replaced by Junichi Tazawa and after letting an inherited runner to score in the sixth, Tazawa allowed Detroit to put runners at first and third with no one out in the seventh. He was able to get Miguel Cabrera to hit into double play, but that did not prevent Jose Iglesias from scoring and bringing the Tigers with in one. Finding themselves in another one-game, with the hot-hitting Jhonny Peralta coming to the plate, the Red Sox turned to their dominating closer Koji Uehara with one out in the eighth. Uehara converted a perfect five out save, sealing the victory for Lester and the Red Sox. Koji has now held Detroit hitless over five innings in series, allowing just three hits while striking out seven.
Four of the five games of this ALCS have now been decided by one run. The series heads back to Fenway for Game 6 on Saturday.