- Associated Press - Friday, October 18, 2013

DETROIT — Mike Napoli provided the power and the Boston bullpen stymied Miguel Cabrera.

Twice in three games, that formula has worked for the Red Sox, and now they’re one win from reaching the World Series.

Napoli opened the scoring with another big long ball, Junichi Tazawa again bested Cabrera in a crucial spot and the Red Sox edged the Detroit Tigers 4-3 Thursday night.

Boston returns to Fenway Park with a 3-2 lead in the AL championship series. The Red Sox can win the American League pennant Saturday, when the TigersMax Scherzer faces Boston’s Clay Buchholz in Game 6.


Four of the five games in the ALCS so far have been decided by one run.

“There’s probably a reason I don’t have any hair,” Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “It’s stressful.”

Cabrera was thrown out at the plate in the first inning, halting an early Detroit rally, and he hit into a double play against Tazawa with runners at the corners in the seventh. The Tigers scored a run on the grounder, but it was a trade-off the Red Sox were willing to make.

Napoli opened a three-run second with his homer off Anibal Sanchez. Detroit’s starters had allowed only three runs in 27 innings through the first four games of the series. After pitching six no-hit innings in Game 1, Sanchez allowed four — three earned — in six innings Thursday.

Jon Lester allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings. He walked three and struck out three.

Down 4-2 in the seventh, the Tigers put runners on first and third with nobody out when Jose Iglesias and Torii Hunter singled. Cabrera, who struck out with runners at the corners against Tazawa in the eighth inning of a 1-0 loss in Game 3, hit a soft grounder to second for a double play this time.

“He pitched me out of the strike zone,” Cabrera said. “He was able to make some pitches out of the strike zone and he made some pitches when he needed to.”

Craig Breslow retired slumping Prince Fielder to end the seventh and got the first out of the eighth. Then Koji Uehara retired five straight for the save.

Now Detroit turns to Scherzer, a 21-game winner, to try to extend the season. The Tigers will have Justin Verlander ready to pitch Game 7 if there is one.

“We’ve got two very good pitchers that are going against us here, Max and Verlander,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “So once we get to Saturday we’ll be focused in on the task at hand at that point.”

Detroit may be without catcher Alex Avila in Boston. He left after the top of the fourth with a strained left knee and is day to day.

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