Mike Napoli’s patience pays off for Red Sox against Tigers and Justin Verlander in ALCS

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DETROIT — Up until his at-bat in the seventh inning, first baseman Mike Napoli fell right in line with the rest of the frustrated ranks of Red Sox hitters.

He came to bat in the second inning and struck out. He came to bat in the fifth and fanned. Justin Verlander, the Tigers’ righthander, was superb.

And here was Napoli again, with one out and bases empty in the seventh. A patient Napoli worked a 1-and-2 count to 3-and-2. Then it happened.

“A 3-2 fastball that Nap got to drive out of the ballpark,’’ mused Sox manager John Farrell, after Napoli’s homer led the Sox to their 1-0 victory and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series. “Obviously, that’s the key moment.’’

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