The Detroit Tigers grabbed the early advantage in the ALCS with a dramatic 1-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night. In fact, they nearly made history, coming two outs short of throwing the first ever combined no-hitter in postseason history.
Had they completed it, they would have joined a very short list with Don Larsen (perfect game in the 1956 World Series) and Roy Halladay (in the 2010 NLDS) as the only the pitchers to throw any type of postseason no-hitter.
That bit of history wasn't meant to be on Saturday night, but the game itself still unfolded in such an unusual manner that it allowed for historical facts or records to pop up or be rewritten. Here's a quick look at the ten that stand out because, well, they're the craziest.
1 Anibal Sanchez became the first pitcher in over 100 years to strike out four batters in a postseason inning
The last pitcher to do so was Orval Overall of the Chicago Cubs during the 1908 World Series. As Big League Stew's Mike Oz noted (via Tyler Kepner), it even came in their Series clinching victory. Sanchez matched the achievement by striking out Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino (who reached on a wild pitch), David Ortiz and Mike Napoli in the first inning.
2. Anibal Sanchez is first pitcher ever to throw six no-hit innings in a postseason start and get removed from the game
Sanchez struck out 12 and walked six so his pitch count elevated quickly. He worked six innings even and threw 116 pitches.
3. This is 2nd time a no-hitter was broken up in the 9th inning of a postseason game
Daniel Nava blooped a single into short center field to break up the bid on Saturday. The only other time it happened was Game 4 of the 1947 World Series when pinch-hitter Cookie Lavagetto's double not only ended the no-hitter, but won the game for the Brooklyn Dodgers, 3-2. The New York Yankees still won the series in seven games.
4. Detroit's 17 strikeouts are tied for the most by a pitching staff in a nine-inning postseason game
Anibal Sanchez struck out 12 in six innings. Relievers Al Alburquerque and Jose Veras each added two while closer Joaquin Benoit recorded the final strikeout in the ninth.
5. It capped the first day in postseason history with two 1-0 games
The St. Louis Cardinals were 1-0 winners over the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier in the day thanks to Michael Wacha and a solid bullpen effort.
6. It was the longest nine-inning, 1-0 game in postseason history at three hours, 56 minutes
The next longest happened last Saturday when the Tigers fell to the Oakland A's — in three hours, 23 minutes — in Game 2 of the ALDS . It's a safe bet the new record will hold up longer than a week ... we think.
7. The Red Sox had the second most hits during the regular season
Ironically, the Tigers were first with 1,626 hits, or 59 more than Boston. You wouldn't expect to see either team no-hit or threatened to be no-hit, but it happened to the Tigers on the final day of the regular season and it nearly happened to Boston here. Tip your cap to the pitchers.
8. It's the first time the Red Sox have been held to one hit or fewer in a postseason game
When you reach the postseason as frequently as the Red Sox, it's bound to happen. But again, it wasn't expected with this Red Sox lineup.
9. It's only the second time the Red Sox have been shut out in a postseason game at home
Now this is impressive. The only other time Boston was shutout at home was Game 5 of the 1918 World Series by the Chicago Cubs. Yes, another Cubs reference here, which alone is pretty crazy, but we all know Boston went on to win that series in six games.
10. Seven total runs have been scored through three LCS games
Even when you throw in the Dodgers-Cardinals 13-inning marathon on Friday, the runs have been few and far between in the LCS round. St. Louis won that game 3-2. Though there have been 33 total hits through 31 innings, we're also still waiting for the first LCS home run. Will that finally come on Sunday? It probably wouldn't hurt to stay tuned.
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