Anibal Sanchez #19 of the Detroit Tigers reacts after a strikeout in the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game One of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 12, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
BOSTON (AP) - Anibal Sanchez and four Detroit Tigers relievers came within two outs of the first combined no-hitter in postseason history, striking out 17 to beat the Boston Red Sox 1-0 Saturday night in the AL championship series opener.
Boston was hitless until Daniel Nava singled off Joaquin Benoit with one out in the ninth.
Stephen Drew followed Nava and flied out to right and, with the potential tying run on second, Xander Bogaerts hit a game-ending popout to shortstop.
Sanchez, the AL's regular-season ERA leader, was pulled after six innings and 116 pitches. Al Albuquerque, Jose Veras, Drew Smyly and Benoit stretched the no-hitter into the ninth before Nava ended their bid for the third postseason no-hitter ever.
Jhonny Peralta had an RBI single off Jon Lester in the sixth for the game's only run. It was a day for pitching in the playoffs - St. Louis beat the Dodgers 1-0 in the NLCS.