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Originally published October 18, 2013 at 9:41 PM | Page modified October 18, 2013 at 10:59 PM

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Strong Detroit pitchers stand in Boston’s way in ALCS

One victory to reach the World Series. And all that is in Boston’s way is Detroit’s 21-game winner Max Scherzer, with Justin Verlander on deck for a seventh game — if the AL Championship Series gets that far.

The Associated Press and The New York Times

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BOSTON – One victory to reach the World Series.

And all that is in Boston’s way is 21-game winner Max Scherzer, with Justin Verlander on deck for a seventh game — if it gets that far.

“We all know what we are up against,” Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said Friday after an offday workout to prepare for Game 6 of the AL Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers.

“I expect it’s going to be another one of those tough games.”

A victory in Game 6 on Saturday would eliminate the defending American League champions and send the Red Sox to their third World Series since 2004. Scherzer will face Boston’s Clay Buchholz, a repeat of a Game 2 matchup the Red Sox won 6-5.

Scherzer took a no-hitter and a 5-0 lead into the sixth inning, but the Red Sox rallied against the Tigers’ bullpen, tying the score on David Ortiz’s eighth-inning grand slam.

“I don’t see him making too many adjustments,” Saltalamacchia said of Scherzer, a major contender for the Cy Young Award. “There’s not many adjustments he needs to make.”

The Red Sox wrapped up a 4-3 victory over Detroit in Game 5 on Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

“We always smell blood, man,” Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia said after Game 5. “It’s like our 103rd win or something. We’re pretty good.”

The Tigers did not work out Friday, instead opting to rest hobbled starters such as third baseman Miguel Cabrera and catcher Alex Avila.

“We have to go to Fenway and we have to fight hard enough to win a game,” said Cabrera, who has been slowed by a variety of injuries since late in the regular season. “If we do that, we have to keep fighting and get the next one.”

White Sox sign Cuban Abreu

CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox finished 2013 with 99 losses, the most since they lost a franchise-worst 106 games in 1970. Less than three weeks after their season ended, they made the first big free-agent splash of the offseason by agreeing to a six-year, $68 million contract with a 26-year-old Cuban first baseman, Jose Abreu.

The deal, which is pending a physical, is the richest first contract for an international player, surpassing the $56 million pitcher Yu Darvish received last year from the Texas Rangers.

Abreu is listed at 6 feet 3 and 250 pounds. Over the last four seasons in Cuba, he hit 111 homers in 284 games while never batting below .380 or posting an on-base percentage under .530.

“Last year wasn’t a very good year, and everybody’s asking what we’re going to do,” Eddie Einhorn, White Sox vice chairman, said. “Well, here you go: We did something.”


• Oakland rookie right-hander Sonny Gray, 23, had surgery on his left thumb Thursday in Cleveland and is expected to be recovered in time for spring training.

• Hearings on the grievance to overturn the 221-game suspension of New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez has recessed for a month after Major League Baseball completed its direct case.

MLB disciplined the third baseman after its investigation of the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic, alleging Rodriguez violated the sport’s drug agreement and labor contract.

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