BOSTON: Anibal Sanchez and the Detroit Tigers missed out on a slice of baseball history on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), but still beat Boston 1-0 in game one of the American League Championship Series.
Tigers starter Sanchez and four Detroit relievers came within two outs of tossing the first combined no-hitter in Major League post-season history.
Instead they settled for a one-hit shut-out and a 1-0 lead over the Red Sox in the best-of-seven series that will send the winner to the World Series.
Jhonny Peralta drove in the game’s only run in the sixth inning.
Sanchez, Al Alburquerque, Jose Veras, Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit piled up a Tigers record 17 strikeouts.
Sanchez struck out 12 — including four in the first inning — over six hitless frames.
But he also issued six walks and had thrown 116 pitches when he was pulled to start the seventh inning.
Alburquerque, Veras and Smyly kept the no-hitter intact over the next two innings before Benoit took over to start the ninth.
The right-hander struck out Mike Napoli to open the last inning, but Daniel Nava smacked a single to shallow center field to give the Red Sox their first hit of the night.
Benoit responded by inducing Stephen Drew to fly out, and Xander Bogaerts popped out to shortstop to end the game.
“Besides the no-hitter, the most important thing is to win,” Sanchez said. Red Sox starter Jon Lester took the loss, although he surrendered just one run on six hits with one walk in 6 1/3 innings.
He was touched for a run in the sixth, after issuing a one-out walk to Miguel Cabrera and hitting Prince Fielder with a pitch. Victor Martinez reached first base on a fielder’s choice ground ball to shortstop, advancing Cabrera to third.
Peralta, who served a 50-game suspension for links to the Biogenesis doping scandal, then lined an RBI single to center to score Cabrera.
The Red Sox, who hadn’t been shut out in a post-season game at home since game five of the 1918 World Series, will try to bounce back when they host game two on Sunday (Monday in Manila).