BOSTON -- One ball fell between two outfielders. Another took a bad hop off the Green Monster standings. One batter reached safely on a dropped third strike and another when the pitcher was slow to cover first.
By the time it was over, the Boston Red Sox had scored five runs in the fourth inning, taking advantage of Tampa Bay's bad luck and bad defense to overcome an early deficit and beat the Rays 12-2 on Friday in Game 1 of the AL division series.
"You play 162 games, a lot of innings, a lot of pitches, a lot of runs. One thing you can guarantee in the playoffs is you're going to see something you haven't seen all year," said Jonny Gomes, who doubled to tie the game and then scored from second on an infield single to give Boston the lead for good. "And we saw that right away," (see full recap).
Pirates cruise to even series with Cardinals
ST. LOUIS -- Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates played a game of role reversal, and pulled even with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The hard-throwing rookie gave up two hits in six dominant innings and also had an RBI in his postseason debut, Pedro Alvarez homered for the second straight day and the Pirates beat the Cardinals 7-1 Friday to even their NL division series at one game apiece.
"Just what we've been seeing all year," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "You saw a focused man that was ready to go," (see full recap).
Braves hold off Dodgers to knot series
ATLANTA -- Flashing plenty of fire and some nifty defense, the Atlanta Braves recaptured their Turner Field swagger.
Now, they're headed to Dodger Stadium with the NL division series all tied up.
Mike Minor pitched six strong innings in his first postseason start, Jason Heyward had a two-run single and Atlanta made one slick play after another in the field, holding off Los Angeles 4-3 on Friday night to even the best-of-five series at one game apiece (see full recap).
Scherzer strikes out 11 to lead Tigers over A's
OAKLAND, Calif. -- After watching Max Scherzer breeze through a spectacular playoff opener, Detroit closer Joaquin Benoit began talking big.
"We took the first step," Benoit said. "It's great. I feel like we're already on the verge of the World Series again."
The Tigers sure looked ready for another special October run, using a dominant performance by Scherzer to beat the Oakland Athletics 3-2 in the AL division series on Friday night.
Scherzer overpowered the A's with his blazing fastball, and then baffled them with his off-speed stuff. The right-hander struck out 11 over seven innings as the Tigers grabbed Game 1 of this playoff rematch from 2012 (see full recap).