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Napoli's homer leads Red Sox past Tigers in ALCS Game 3: Quick hits

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

More ALCS: Game 3 box score | Who has the edge?

DETROIT -- After coming back to steal Game 2 of the ALCS on Sunday, the Red Sox came to Detroit and took Game 3 from the Tigers in their own building. Let's break down the pitching-heavy 1-0 win for Boston:

Hero: John Lackey. The Red Sox offense was going to have their hands full Justin Verlander, so Lackey didn't have much margin for error. He held the Tigers to three singles and one double in 6 2/3 innings, striking out eight. At 97 pitches, Lackey probably had something left in the tank, but manager John Farrell went to his bullpen and mixed-and-matched the rest of the way. Huge performance by Lackey.

Goat: The Tigers lineup as a whole, but specifically the guys who failed to get a runner in from third with less than two outs in the both the fifth and eighth innings. That would be Omar Infante, Andy Dirks, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. All but Dirks struck out in those situations. Infante also stranded the tying run at second base in the seventh. Detroit had their chances. Not many, but they had a few and couldn't capitalize.

Turning point: This game had a "first team to hit a home run wins" feel to it, and sure enough, that's exactly what happened. Mike Napoli hit that homer, a seventh inning solo shot off Verlander. The whole tenor of the game changed after that.

It was over when: The final out is a good choice, but I'm going to go with Junichi Tazawa striking out Cabrera with men on the corners and one out in the eighth. Even though he's banged up and playing at far from 100-perfect, Miggy is still the best hitter in the world and he could have plated the tying run with a routine fly ball. As soon as he struck out, Farrell went to all-world closer Koji Uehara and that was that.

Next: Game 4, that's what next. The Red Sox will took to take a commanding three games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven series behind starter Jake Peavy, who will be opposed by Doug Fister. That game is scheduled to begin a little after 8pm ET.

 
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