ALCS Game 3: Red Sox vs. Tigers in GIFs

Mike Ehrmann

The Red Sox beat the Tigers in Game 3 of the 2013 ALCS. Here's how, in moving picture form.

The Red Sox lead the Tigers 2-1 in the 2013 ALCS. Here's how Game 3 went down...in GIF form.

Justin Verlander got off to the same start that Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer managed before him, which is to say the Red Sox were being no-hit through four innings and striking out in every other at bat. Yes, it was grim as ever for the Red Sox, with only two swings suggesting that there might be better times ahead. First, a loud foul from Jonny Gomes that just missed going for extra bases--possibly even four:

Gomes_medium

(Yes, it was so bad tha even Boston's loud foul balls are worth mentioning)

Second, a very loud out from David Ortiz, caught at the wall just about a foot from being gone:

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But that was it, at least until the fifth. There the Red Sox finally put a non-zero number into the hit column thanks to...well, an infield single:

Gomeshit_medium

But hey, beggars can't be choosers, and with Jacoby Ellsbury picking up a hit of his own in the next inning, it looked like the game might finally be getting a little more interesting in the top halves of innings. And indeed it was. In the seventh, Mike Napoli stepped to the plate. After an 0-for-11 streak with just about all of those at bats resulting in strikeouts, Napoli probably would have settled for a chopper to third. He didn't have to, though. Working the count full, Boston's first baseman got a fastball in the middle of the plate and changed the entire dynamic of the game:

Napolihr_medium

His homer made it 1-0 for Boston, a lead which did not seem terribly comfortable when John Lackey allowed a baserunner to the second batter he faced in the bottom of the inning, only after Jonny Gomes had barely saved him from disaster with this grab:

Gomescatch_medium

To that point, Lackey had been absolutely fantastic, holding the Tigers scoreless and matching Verlander strikeout-for-strikeout. But after two at bats resulting in good contact and one 3-0 count to Jhonny Peralta (that at bat would end in a pop-up), Farrell decided it was time for the pen. Lackey did not approve.

Disclaimer: If you are a decent lip reader and easily offended by bad language...well, frankly, baseball is probably not the sport for you.

Lackey_medium

The move worked, however. Craig Breslow walked Alex Avila, but got a ground out from Omar Infante to end the inning. His contribution to the eighth was about the same, striking out a pinch-hitting Jose Iglesias, but walking Austin Jackson to put the tying run on first with the biggest part of the lineup coming up. So when Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara struck out Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder respectively, he was pretty fired up:

Breslow-celebration_medium

That leftjust one inning between the Red Sox and a 2-1 lead, and while Uehara surrendered a leadoff single to Victor Martinez, a double play ball from Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila strikeout brought them home for Koji and Papi to, uh...do their...thing...

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