The Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers won the openers of their American League playoff series, while the Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates triumphed in the National League to even their series at one-game apiece.
Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia had two-run doubles as the Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 12-2 to open their best-of-five series. Jon Lester allowed two runs on three hits in 7 2/3 innings for the host Red Sox yesterday at Fenway Park.
The Rays took a 2-0 lead on solo home runs by Sean Rodriguez and Ben Zobrist before the Red Sox got five runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth, all off Rays starter Matt Moore.
“I knew two runs wasn’t going to beat us,” Lester said in a news conference. “As long as I kept them close enough, our guys were going to figure out Matt, and we were able to do that.”
Game 2 in the series is set for today, also in Boston.
The Tigers scored three runs in the first inning and then let starting pitcher Max Scherzer take care of the rest in a 3-2 victory at the Oakland Athletics.
Scherzer, who went 21-3 during the regular season, struck out 11 and allowed three hits in seven innings. Two of those hits were by Yoenis Cespedes -- a triple in the second and a two-run homer in the seventh. Two relievers got the final six outs for the Tigers.
Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila had run-scoring singles in the first inning for Detroit.
In the National League, Jason Heyward had a two-run single and the host Braves defeated the Dodgers 4-3 to send their series to Los Angeles tied at one-game apiece.
Mike Minor allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings for Atlanta, while Dodgers starter Zack Greinke gave up two runs in six innings.
Andrelton Simmons had a run-scoring double for the Braves and Chris Johnson added an RBI single. Hanley Ramirez drove in all three Dodgers runs with an RBI double and a two-run homer.
“Come out and play a really, really good baseball game, and hopefully carry a little momentum going into L.A.,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told reporters. “You don’t want to go into L.A. down two games.”
The other NL series also is tied up, after rookie Gerrit Cole allowed two hits in six innings and Pedro Alvarez and Starling Marte hit home runs for Pittsburgh as the Pirates beat the host St. Louis Cardinals 7-1.
Game 3 in the Pirates-Cardinals series is set for tomorrow in Pittsburgh.