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Pitchers’ Duel As Tigers Defeat Red Sox

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Jon Lester (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Jon Lester (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer

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.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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