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Tigers-Red Sox notebook: Hunter eyes first World Series

The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- In 17 major league seasons, Torii Hunter has never played in a World Series.

He came close in 2009 when the Angels lost to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series in six games. Playing in his seventh postseason this year, the Detroit Tigers right fielder is on the brink again in the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox.

"It"s important for every major league baseball player to get to the World Series," said Hunter, a first-round pick by the Minnesota Twins in 1993.

"But it's vital that I get there. I see this all the time, guys jumping up and down on the field at the end of the season, during the World Series, at the end of the World Series, and I'm sitting on my couch having a Coors Light. And, you know, you're sitting there and you're seeing those guys. And you just kind of soak it in.

"That's the way you want it to be. It's my dream. And I'm going to keep fighting and keep trying to get there to my dream and watching those guys on the field celebrate. I just try to imagine myself doing that."

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After the Red Sox were shut out on one hit with 17 strikeouts in Game 1, manager John Farrell altered his lineup for Game 2.

Mike Napoli was out of the lineup and Mike Carp started at first base, batting fifth. Johnny Gomes was in left field, batting sixth, with Daniel Nava -- the only Red Sox batter with a hit in Game 1 -- on the bench. And Jarrod Saltalamacchia was back behind the plate, batting seventh, with David Ross on the bench.

Gomes was 2-for-6 in his career against Tigers starter Max Scherzer. Carp was 2-for-8 and Saltalamacchia was 5-for-12.

"At this point in the playoffs, obviously the ALCS, I don't think you'll get any pitcher, starter, bullpen that's a slouch," Gomes said of facing the Tigers' Cy Young Award candidate. "His year speaks for itself. His resume speaks for itself. To put those numbers up, you obviously have to have more than one, I guess, way above-average pitch, which he does, deception, velocity.

"Sounds easy, but to be able to throw a pitch for a strike and a ball, which he can do very well, 20-game winner, not too many of those in the recent eras. Bulldog mentality, you saw him come out of the bullpen and slam the door in Detroit.

"Got our work cut out for us. At the same time, (Red Sox starter Clay) Buchholz isn't any slouch either. Runs are going to be tough to come by, like they were last night. We've got to take advantage of some opportunities."

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NOTES: After starting at shortstop in Game 1, Jose Iglesias was not in the Tigers' lineup for Game 2. Manager Jim Leyland opted to go with Jhonny Peralta at short and Don Kelly in left field. With Kelly in the lineup, the Tigers will have one additional left-handed hitter against Buchholz, a right-hander. ... Anibal Sanchez's 12 strikeouts in six hitless innings for the Tigers in Game 1 marked the most strikeouts by a pitcher before he allowed a hit in a postseason game in major league history. The previous record belonged to Sandy Koufax, who struck out 10 Yankees before Elston Howard connected for the New York Yankees' first hit, a two-out single in the fifth inning in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series. ... Tigers pitchers have quality starts in five of six games in the postseason, posting a combined 2.35 ERA while holding opponents to a .173 average. ... The Red Sox have outscored opponents 26-13 in the postseason. They have two losses with both by one run. ... With his appearance in Game 2 of the ALCS, David Ortiz has played in all 63 Red Sox postseason games beginning in 2003, tying Jason Varitek's club record for postseason games. Ortiz entered Game 2 as the team's career leader in postseason runs (43), hits (66), doubles (16), home runs (14), RBIs (46), walks (46) and extra-base hits (32). ... The Red Sox entered Game 2 with a team-record eight postseason stolen bases. Jacoby Ellsbury (4), Quintin Berry (2) and Shane Victorino (2) are the only players in the postseason with multiple stolen bases. Ellsbury's nine career postseason stolen bases are a team record, passing Johnny Damon's eight.
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