BOSTON -- Given another chance to find fault with umpire Joe West’s work behind the plate, Red Sox manager John Farrell passed.
“I don’t think it was [a factor],” Farrell said. “Looking back at some pitches, the [Tigers] made some very good pitchers’ pitches. It would be ludicrous to think that the strike zone was why we were looking at a zero in the hit column in the ninth inning.”
What did make a difference, Farrell said, was how good the Detroit bullpen was after starter Anibal Sanchez was lifted in the sixth inning after throwing 116 pitches, even though a no-hitter was in progress.
“Every guy they brought in from the bullpen was mid to upper 90s with a putaway breaking ball,” Farrell said, “and when they had to, they executed. To me, that was the biggest thing. They showed more consistency to execute from guy to guy than maybe in the last 6, 8, 10 weeks, based on our scouting reports.”
Tigers manager Jim Leyland used three relievers -- right-handers Al Alburquerque and Jose Veras and left-hander Drew Smyly -- before turning the game over to closer Joaquin Benoit in the ninth. Alburquerque pitched a scoreless seventh, striking out two. Veras struck out the only two batters he faced in the eighth before giving way to Smyly, who was brought in to pitch to Ortiz, and retired him on a fly ball.
Benoit gave up Boston’s lone hit, a one-out single by Daniel Nava.
“If you told me before the game that Sanchez would be at 116 pitches after six innings, I would have said we’re probably in pretty good shape,” Farrell said.