ALCS Game 5: Red Sox hang on to reach brink of World Series

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Napoli’s drive easily cleared the 420-foot marker in center and landed in the ivy above two rows of bushes. That was the start of a three-run second inning, and it was Napoli’s second homer of the series. His solo shot accounted for the only run of Game 3.

Napoli wasn’t all that concerned with where the ball went, as long as it cleared the wall.

“It can go in the first row for all I care,” he said.

Detroit revamped its lineup before its Game 4 win — dropping Austin Jackson from the leadoff spot to eighth and moving almost everyone else up a place. The Tigers went with that same general framework Thursday, but it was Farrell’s adjustments that paid off.

After Napoli’s homer, Jonny Gomes — starting in left field instead of Daniel Nava — reached on an error by Cabrera at third base. One out later, 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts — he started at third instead of Will Middlebrooks — hit a double.

David Ross, catching in place of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, doubled with men on second and third. Only one run scored on the play because Bogaerts didn’t get a good jump from second, but he came home anyway when Sanchez couldn’t handle Jacoby Ellsbury’s line drive back to the mound. It went off Sanchez’s glove for an infield single and a 3-0 lead.

Boston missed out on another run that inning when Ross was thrown out at home on Shane Victorino’s grounder. Ross plowed through Avila at the plate — then gave Avila a pat on the backside after he held onto the ball.

Ross and Avila have both dealt with concussion problems this year, and Avila was later hit in the mask by a foul ball.

In the third, Iglesias gave the Detroit fans something to cheer about with a terrific catch on a shallow flyball by David Ortiz. Iglesias, who plays shortstop but was shifted over to the right of second base, ran all the way out to short left field, finally catching the ball with a quick snatch of his glove hand.

But Napoli followed with a double, went to third on a groundout and scored on a two-out, two-strike wild pitch by Sanchez to make it 4-0.

Sanchez allowed nine hits and struck out five.

Lester worked in and out of trouble. He was helped in the first inning when Cabrera was thrown out at home for the third out. Cabrera has been slowed by a number of injuries over the last couple months, and when Jhonny Peralta singled to left, it appeared the Tigers would have the bases loaded with two outs and Omar Infante batting.

But coach Tom Brookens started waiving Cabrera around third, and when Brookens changed course and put up the stop sign, the Detroit slugger ran through it and was out at home on a play that wasn’t close.

“Tommy was waving,” Leyland said. “In defense of him, the natural instinct is to wave right away — you don’t want to stop him really too quick in case something would happen in the outfield with the ball, the guy would boot it or something. It’s hard to get him going again. He just held him too late. With Cabrera right now, you’ve got to be cautious.”

Cabrera managed an RBI single in the fifth. With two on and one out in the sixth, the Red Sox pulled Lester, bringing in Tazawa. Pena immediately singled home a run, but Jackson hit into an inning-ending double play.

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