DETROIT—First baseman Mike Napoli homered in the seventh inning breaking a scoreless tie, pitcher John Lackey outdueled Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander and the Red Sox survived late rallies to win Game 3 of the ALCS, 1-0, taking a 2-1 series lead.
Verlander stymied Boston for six innings until Napoli’s blast provided the game’s only run. Verlander struck out 10 Boston batters allowing four hits over his eight innings of work. Napoli had struck out in his previous six at-bats.
Lackey was just as strong for Boston, tossing 6.2 scoreless innings while striking out eight.
Detroit failed to capitalize on crucial opportunities at the plate in each of the last two innings. With runners on first and third with one out, pitcher Junichi Tazawa struck out third baseman Miguel Cabrera. Closer Koji Uehara would enter and strike out first baseman Prince Fielder to end the frame. Fielder has not driven in a run in his last 53 postseason at-bats.
Detroit would again add the lead off runner in the ninth inning after a single from designated hitter Victor Martinez off Uehara. However, left fielder Jhonny Peralta would kill the rally grounding into a double play. Uehara would strike out catcher Alex Avila swinging to end the game and give Boston the ALCS edge.
The series resumes tomorrow with Game 4 in Detroit. First pitch is at 8:00 PM.