Alex Avila’s fifth-inning shot gives Tigers two-run cushion

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Tigers catcher Alex Avila played through an injured knee last postseason and wound up batting just .073/.116/.146 in 44 plate appearances. It appears he’ll be much more of a contributor this time around.

The 25-year-old launched a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning of tonight’s ALDS Game 1 against the Athletics, giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead.

Even more positive for Detroit is that starter Justin Verlander appears to have settled in. He’s already up to 105 pitches but has allowed just three hits and fanned nine. The ace struck out the side in the top of the sixth inning. To the bottom of the sixth we go.

Justin Turner and Chris Taylor named co-MVPs of NLCS

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Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner and SS/CF Chris Taylor have been named co-MVPs of the NLCS, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.

Turner hit .333/.478/.667 with four singles, two home runs, and five walks across 23 plate appearances in the NLCS. He hit a walk-off three-run home run off of John Lackey in the ninth inning to win Game 2 for the Dodgers.

Taylor hit .316/.458/.789 with two singles, a double, a triple, two home runs, and five walks in 24 NLCS plate appearances. He hit a go-ahead solo home run in Game 1. He hit another go-ahead solo homer in Game 3 and later added an RBI triple.