Jon Lester turned in a solid start, Mike Napoli hit another homer and the Boston Red Sox are now one win away from the World Series. They beat the Detroit Tigers 4-3 in Thursday night's ALCS Game 5.
• Napoli homered to open scoring for the Red Sox in the second inning. It was a monster 460-foot shot to center field. It started a three-run rally for the Red Sox. Napoli — who hit the deciding solo homer in Game 3 — had three hits and scored two runs.
• Jon Lester didn't end the game with a wowing stat line, but he was solid for the Sox. He out-pitched Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez, didn't allow a homer and despite giving up seven hits, limited Detroit to only two runs. Given Boston's early rally, Lester did what was needed.
• Red Sox closer Koji Uehara was called out of the bullpen with one out in the eighth inning, tasked with completing a five-out save. He did his duty, setting down five straight batters. It was his second five-out save of the season.
• Detroit will regret two plays — one that cost them a run and one that gave Boston a run. Miguel Cabrera was thrown out at the plate in the first inning, trying to score from second base on a Jhonny Peralta single. Miggy isn't at full health, so he had no business trying to score. Third base coach Tom Brookens waved him in, then tried to stop him, but it was all bad. Cabrera was thrown out easily. Had he stayed at third, the Tigers would have had the bases loaded. Their second regret: An Sanchez wild pitch in the third inning that brought Napoli home.
• Anibal Sanchez wasn't bad. But given the starting pitching that the Tigers have gotten in this series, he wasn't as good as Tigers fans have come to expect. The Red Sox jumped on him early, scoring three runs in the second inning and another in the third. He lasted six innings, giving up nine hits and four runs.
Miguel Cabrera came up to bat in the seventh inning with runners at first and third base, the Tigers down 4-2. Nobody was out and fans were chanting "M-V-P." It had the makings of a great postseason moment, but Miggy grounded into a double play. It scored a run, but it also effectively killed the Tigers' rally.
The Tigers grounded into three double plays in the game, all of them with two runners on base. Austin Jackson hit into an inning-ending double play in the sixth. Brayan Pena did in the fourth.
Mike Napoli was a triple away from the cycle. No batter has hit for the cycle in the postseason.
Koji Uehara has the fifth-most strikeouts (11) without a walk in a single postseason in MLB history
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 18, 2013
• Prince Fielder getting booed by Detroit fans after grounding out in the fifth inning after the Tigers had scored their first run. He doesn't have an RBI this postseason. He was 1-for-4 in the game.
Ugly stat of the night? Prince Fielder saw 10 pitches in 4 ABs.
— World of Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) October 18, 2013
• The home-plate collision between Tigers catcher Alex Avila and Red Sox catcher David Ross. Avila impressively held on during this catcher-on-catcher collision, but he eventually left the game with a knee injury.
The series returns to Boston for Game 6 on Saturday with the Red Sox looking to advance to the World Series. Detroit's Max Scherzer (23-3, 2.85 ERA) faces Clay Buchholz (12-1, 2.18 ERA). The game is scheduled to start at 4:37 p.m. ET, but the time will change if the Cardinals beat the Dodgers on Friday and close out the NLCS.
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