Pitching was on full display all day Saturday as the Dodgers, Cardinals, Tigers, and Red Sox combined to score 2 runs in their two LCS games. The Cardinals and the Tigers were on the positive end of the results as they each edged the opposition 1-0 behind spectacular outings from their starting pitchers. That’s not to ignore what the Dodgers or Red Sox were able to do either. Holding those offenses to 1 run should mean an easy victory.
Starting with the NLCS, the Dodgers relied on the talented left arm of Clayton Kershaw. Over the course of six innings of work, he allowed only one run to cross the plate on two hits. Yes, you read that correctly. Two hits. In fact, the Dodgers outhit the Cardinals 5-2, but were unable to get the big hit they needed to push a run across the plate. Probably because they were too busy swinging and missing. The Dodgers stuck out 13 times against Cardinals’ pitching, led by Michael Wacha, who struck out eight on his own.
It was the same story for the Red Sox and the Tigers, well almost. While the Red Sox didn’t outhit the Tigers, they did manage to strike out a whopping 17 times while only getting one hit. Anibal Sanchez was masterful for the Tigers, striking out 12 over the course of six innings and left with a no-hitter after throwing a whopping 116 pitches. The bullpen picked up the slack carrying the no-hitter all the way into the bottom of the ninth when Daniel Nava singled to center with one out off of Joaquin Benoit.
Going back to the National League, the Cardinals scored their lone run in the bottom of the fifth inning. David Freese doubled to lead off the inning and eventually advanced to third on a passed ball by Dodgers’ catcher A.J. Ellis. John Jay then hit a sacrifice fly to push Freese across the plate and give the Cardinals what would prove to be the game winning run. The Dodgers would get their opportunities, the best of which came in the top of the seventh, but Michael Young, pinch-hitting for Kershaw, was unable to drive home Nick Punto with two outs.
Meanwhile, the Tigers got their run in the top of sixth off of Jon Lester. With runners at first and third, Jhonny Peralta slapped a soft sinking liner to center that allowed Miguel Cabrera to score. At the time, no one thought that one run would be enough to top the powerful Red Sox offense, but then again, no one probably would have expected a near ho hitter.
With the victories, the Cardinals are one step closer to yet another World Series birth. They now lead the Dodgers two games to none in their best of seven series. As for the Tigers, last year’s runner-up leads the Red Sox one game to none with game two set to take place tonight at 8 pm on FOX. Max Scherzer will take the mound for the Tigers against Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox.