DETROIT — When Justin Verlander and Alex Avila retraced their steps in Mike Napoli’s at-bats, all the breadcrumbs led them back to the fastball.
“He was really late on his fastball most of the game,” Avila said.
Napoli wasn’t necessarily alone. Most of the night, the Sox had politely waved at whatever Verlander whizzed by them.
But Napoli was the friendliest, swinging and missing at six Verlander offerings and striking out twice.
“I felt like he hadn’t seen the fastball very well,” Verlander said.
In the seventh, on a night when he struck out 11 and held the Red Sox scoreless through 6⅓ innings, Verlander made his only mistake.
Napoli hit it out and it was enough to beat Verlander and the Tigers in Game 3. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.