Nava denies no-no, but Tigers snuff out Red Sox rally
One-out single in ninth Boston's lone hit; pinch-runner Berry stranded after steal
BOSTON -- The Red Sox were held hitless by the Tigers for 8 1/3 innings in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday night.
With one out in the ninth, Daniel Nava stepped up against Joaquin Benoit having gone 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against Benoit in his career. And yet it was Nava who hit a single up the middle to make sure the Red Sox weren't no-hit for the first time since 1993.
"I wasn't thinking anything about the no-hitter at that point," Nava said after a 1-0 loss at Fenway Park. "It was still a 1-0 game. We had been battling all night and we hadn't gotten anything to fall. Fortunately, I got that one to fall, but to try and set things up, that was where a lot of the emotion came from. Playoffs, that's what you're playing for and we had a shot. We didn't get it done, but that's why it's not best of one."
Nava quickly fell behind in the count, 1-2. Once Benoit gets to 1-2, hitters are batting just .115 off him. But Nava, who excels at keeping at-bats alive, fouled off three more pitches before roping a 95-mph fastball into center field.
"Just trying to grind at-bats out," he said.
Quintin Berry entered as a pinch-runner for Nava and stole second base with two outs, putting the tying run in scoring position.
"When you don't have any hits and we're only down one, everyone is kind of on edge," Berry said. "But when we got that hit -- Nava battled -- you have a good shot. Things just didn't work out for the club."
Berry improved to 25-for-25 in career stolen-base attempts, but Xander Bogaerts popped out to end the game.
"Nava had a great at-bat," said Dustin Pedroia. "Quintin stole a base and we had another chance. So sometimes you don't get the big hit. Tomorrow I hope we do."
The steal at least gave Berry confidence that he could swipe a bag off Benoit if he gets another chance later this series.
"Definitely makes you feel good," Berry said. "Especially when you do it off a guy you know is going to be closing late in the game, you know he's coming back next time. You feel good to get a good jump and be confident going into the next couple of games."