Since their first game against each other in 1901, the Tigers and Red Sox have matched up during the regular season over 1,900 times. On Saturday, October 12, 2013, after 112 years of history, the Tigers and Red Sox squared off in the postseason for the first time ever … at the majestic Fenway Park, which opened in 1912.
And so it's only fitting an epic 1-0 Tigers win was full of reminders of the past and records being toppled.
Anibal Sanchez was wild, if not dirty, so a strikeout-wild pitch that put a runner on in the bottom of the first allowed him to ultimately strike out FOUR batters. It was the first time in MLB history since 1908 a pitcher had 4 strikeouts in a postseason inning. Chicago Cubs' Orval Overall did it against the Tigers in the 1908 World Series.
Sanchez would go on to strike out 12 batters in 6 shutout innings. However, due to 6 walks and a high pitch count, Sanchez was lifted in the 7th. His 12 strikeouts were the most by a pitcher against the Red Sox in their postseason history and were the most by a Tigers pitcher since 1972 (Joe Coleman). It was the first time in MLB history a pitcher with a no-hitter after 6 innings was pulled. He was only the third starter to ever go 6-plus no-hit innings and the other two (Don Larsen, 1955 World Series, and Roy Halladay, 2010 NLDS) finished their no hitters. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Sanchez’s 12 strikeouts were the most by a pitcher before he allowed a hit in a postseason game in MLB history. The previous record belonged to Sandy Koufax, who struck out 10 Yankees before allowing a hit in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series. Of course, Sanchez never allowed a hit.
The Tigers' bullpen was summoned to protect the no hitter, potentially becoming the first team to combine for a no hitter in postseason history. They came within 2 outs of it, as Daniel Nava broke up the bid by punching a single into center off closer Joaquin Benoit. That would be the Red Sox's only hit. It was the first time since 1947 a no-hit bid was broken up in the 9th inning of a postseason game.
The Tigers did combine to tie the MLB record for strikeouts in a 9-inning postseason game with 17, matching the 1998 Padres and 1968 Cardinals (vs. Tigers). Benoit had the final batter down to his last strike, but he flew out to right to end the game.
The 1-0 game was the second of the day, marking the first time in MLB history two playoff games ended 1-0 on the same day. It was the first time in MLB postseason history the Red Sox were shutout 1-0 in their own home. In Red Sox fashion, it was the longest 1-0 game in postseason history.
So, yeah, quite a bit of history in the first ever postseason game between storied franchises. What will Game 2 and the rest of the series bring? Game 2 is Sunday night at 8:37 p.m. ET. This year's likely AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer goes for the Tigers. It should be a doooooooozie.