Tigers take down Red Sox, even ALCS at 2-2

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The American League Championship Series is 2-2.

Tigers starter Doug Fister delivered six innings of one-run ball and the Detroit offense broke out in a major way in Wednesday night’s 7-3 ALCS Game 4 victory over the visiting Red Sox at Comerica Park. Fister dealt with at least one Boston baserunner in each of his six frames, but he was able to work out of those jams while racking up seven strikeouts. He surrendered eight total hits but issued only one walk.

Red Sox starter Jake Peavy pitched a perfect first inning, but the wheels fell off for him in the bottom of the second. He yielded five runs in that frame on three walks, two singles and a double, and then the Tigers tagged him for two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Peavy made it to just 65 pitches and has now yielded 21 earned runs in 18 1/3 career postseason frames, dating back to his days with the Padres.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland made a couple of bold moves with his lineup heading into Game 4, dropping Austin Jackson to the No. 8 spot and bumping Torii Hunter to leadoff. Miguel Cabrera hit second for the first time since 2004. And it all worked out perfectly. Jackson, who was buried in a postseason slump, snapped out of it for two hits, two walks and two RBI in four trips to the plate. Hunter and Cabrera also drove in two.

Jacoby Ellsbury went 4-for-5 and the Red Sox actually out-hit the Tigers, but that will soon be forgotten.

Game 5 of the ALCS is on Thursday at 8:00 p.m. ET in Detroit. It’ll be Jon Lester vs. Anibal Sanchez.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: