Anibal Sanchez and four relievers came within two outs of the first combined no-hitter in postseason history and Jhonny Peralta singled in the lone run as visiting Detroit blanked Boston in the opening contest of the American League Championship Series.
Sanchez (1-0) struck out 12 in six hitless innings and departed after walking six and throwing 116 pitches. The no-hitter was broken up with one out in the ninth when Daniel Nava singled off Joaquin Benoit before the Detroit closer rebounded to retire Stephen Drew on a fly to right and Xander Bogaerts on a pop-up to complete a 3 hour, 56 minute contest in which the Tigers struck out 17 Red Sox batters.
Boston’s Jon Lester (0-1) was the hard-luck loser after allowing one run and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. Peralta went 3-for-4 with two doubles for Detroit.
Miguel Cabrera drew a one-out walk and Prince Fielder was hit by a pitch in the sixth before Victor Martinez barely avoided hitting into an inning-ending double play. Peralta followed by looping a 2-2 pitch into center field to plate Cabrera.
Sanchez walked the bases loaded in the sixth before striking out Stephen Drew to end his night. Al Alburquerque fanned two in the seventh, Jose Veras struck out the two batters he faced in the eighth and Drew Smyly followed by retiring David Ortiz on a fly to center.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Sanchez became the second pitcher in postseason history to strike out four batters in one inning when he did so in the first. The other was Orval Overall of the Chicago Cubs in the 1908 World Series. … The 17 strikeouts by Boston hitters are the most in the franchise’s postseason history. … Detroit LHP Max Scherzer faces Boston RHP Clay Buchholz in Sunday’s Game 2.