Tigers' Alex Avila (knee) starts

BOSTON -- Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila started and batted sixth Saturday night in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox despite suffering a strained patellar tendon in his left knee in Game 5.

He was shaken up in the second inning Thursday when David Ross plowed into him while trying to jar the ball loose in a home plate collision.

The Red Sox, who lead the series 3-2, tried to close it out Saturday night and advance to the World Series to play the St. Louis Cardinals.

Avila also took some dings from foul tips and bounced pitches, and exited Game 5 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said before Saturday night's game that Avila feels pretty good.

Avila has a great track record against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, batting .455 (5-for-11) with a home run (which he hit in Game 2) and four RBIs entering Game 6.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.