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ALCS notebook: Avila back in Tigers' lineup

The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- Alex Avila was back in the Detroit Tigers' lineup Saturday night.

The catcher returned for Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. He suffered a strained patella tendon in Game 5 on Thursday night in Detroit and left in the fourth, two innings after getting run over by David Ross in a collision at home plate.

"He's ready to go. He feels pretty good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Avila. "I don't think there will be any kind of drawback."

Avila was just 5-for-27 (.185) in the postseason prior to Saturday. However, he also had eight walks to give him a .389 on-base percentage.

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Red Sox rookie Xander Bogaerts started at third base for the second straight game in place of Will Middlebrooks. In Game 5, the 21-year-old Bogaerts became the youngest player to start a game for the Red Sox since Babe Ruth in the 1916 World Series.

In five postseason games prior to Saturday, Bogaerts was 2-for-5 (.400) with three walks and five runs scored. He played 18 games for Boston in the regular season after beginning the year at Double-A Portland then being promoted to Triple-A Pwatucket.

"The smile on his face never goes away," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "There's never the look of deer in the headlights, any kind of those descriptions you might come up with. He's a very mature and poised young man."

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If a Game 7 is needed, it will be played at 8:07 p.m. ET Sunday with Justin Verlander starting for Detroit against John Lackey. They faced each other in Game 3 and the Red Sox won 1-0 with 1B Mike Napoli hitting a home run off Verlander for the game's lone run.

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NOTES: Four of the first five games of the series were decided by one run, tying the ALCS record set in 1997 between the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles. ... Tigers RHP Al Alburquerque pitched in each of the first five games of the series, a record for most appearances in a postseason series by a Detroit pitcher. ... Boston CF Jacoby Ellsbury entered Saturday with six stolen bases in the postseason and Red Sox have 11 as a team. Both are club records.
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