DETROIT -- Drew Smyly entered this American League Championship Series as the Tigers' lefty reliever without the strong history against Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who was 3-for-4 with a home run off the young southpaw. There's still some potential meetings left, but in two chances, Smyly has bucked the trend.
After retiring Ortiz on a fly ball to center in the eighth inning of Game 1, Smyly got another chance in the seventh inning of Game 4, this time with a runner on, a run already in and a Red Sox rally building.
Smyly mixed sinkers and fastballs and fell behind, but escaped with a groundout to second base.
If there's a specific strategy, Smyly is not letting on, but he did suggest a small sample sizes.
"I think it's just executing," Smyly said. "I faced him one game, I strike him out his first at-bat, then he gets three hits in a row off me. I don't know. He's a great hitter. I try to make my pitches. If he hits it, he hits it. If I execute, hopefully I get him out. That's all there is to it."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.