Red Sox cut into Tigers’ ALCS Game 4 advantage

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Boston is finally on the board in this ALCS Game 4.

Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia scored first baseman Mike Napoli on an RBI single in the top of the sixth inning and Shane Victorino drove in Jacoby Ellsbury on an RBI double in the top of the seventh inning. Ellsbury has tallied three hits in a game for the third time this postseason. Salty and Napoli can each claim a pair of base hits so far.

Tigers starter Doug Fister was lifted at 98 pitches, after throwing six innings of one-run ball. Red Sox starter Jake Peavy has been gone since the fourth inning. It’s a 7-2 lead for host Detroit as the bottom of the seventh begins.

Boston is up 2-1 in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.