Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez tossed six no-hit innings and Al Alburquerque was responsible for one himself as Jose Veras took the mound at Fenway Park in the bottom of the eighth inning attempting to preserve a potentially historic feat. The right-hander retired both hitters he faced, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia, on strikeouts before giving way to Drew Smyly as David Ortiz stepped to the plate. Smyly got Ortiz to fly out to center, meaning that the Tigers will enter the ninth inning three outs away from a combined post-season no-hitter.
Closer Joaquin Benoit will have the task of recording three more outs without allowing a hit — and more importantly, a run, as Game 1 of the ALCS is still quite close and still quite winnable for the Red Sox at 1-0. Benoit will face Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava, and Stephen Drew.
Update (12:58 AM ET): Per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Samardzija has been diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle. He’ll be shut down for a week. That’s good news for the Giants, considering the alternatives.
Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.
This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.
Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.