The Detroit Tigers have been plagued with closer problems all season long, but it was Boston’s closer Andrew Bailey that decided Thursday night’s 4-3 Detroit win over the Boston Red Sox. With Boston leading 3-2 in the ninth inning, Bailey blew a save opportunity by surrendering a lead-off walk to Victor Martinez, followed by a walk off home run by Jhonny Peralta in the home half of the ninth inning that gave the Motor City crew the victory in the opener of a four game weekend series.
Boston starter John Lackey and Detroit counterpart Jose Alvarez opened the game by tossing three scoreless frames each before Red Sox DH David Ortiz pushed Boston in front 1-0 with his 15th home run of the year.; a solo shot to right to open the fourth inning.
Boston stretched its lead to 2-0 when Jose Iglesias led off the Red Sox fifth with his first career triple and scored on a follow-up RBI single by Jacoby Ellsbury.
Detoit frustrated Lackey in the bottom of the fifth with bloops and blips to tied the score at 2-2. Omare Infante led off with a walk, Brayan Pena followed with a crisp single, then Austin Jackson reached on a weak ground ball to third that resulted in an infield single to load the bases. Torri Hunter followed with a bloop single over the outstretched glove of Duston Pedroia and second to score two. Lackey rebounded and avoided further damage by striking out Miguel Cabrera with runners at first and third for the Tigers.
Boston took back the lead in the top of the 8th. Detroit reliever Phil Cole issued back-to-back walks to Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia. Ortiz struck again with another RBI single through the right side of the Tigers’ infield to score Victorino, chase Coke and give Boston a 3-2 lead, putting Lackey in position for a possible win.
Koji Uehara relieved Lackey and got the Tigers in 1-2-3 order in the bottom of the eight, including Jacoby Ellsbury hauling in a deep fly in center off the bat of Prince Fielder. Lackey finished the night with a pitching line of IP 7 R 2 ER 2 BB 1 H 7 K 5 to close out another quality start. That effort was wasted when Bailey blew his second straight save opportunity for the Bosox and fell to 8 saves in 12 opportunities.
The loss dropped Boston’s record to 44-31 on the season. The Red Sox maintained a slim A.L. Eastern Division lead over the idle Baltimore Orioles of 1 game.
John Lester will look to snap a six game string of four losses and two no decisions in his last six starts when he takes the hill Friday for the second game of the Tiger series. Detroit counters with Doug Fister. Both starters come in at 6-4 on the year.
Ryan Lavarnway got the start behind the plate Thursday and tallied a double, giving Jarrod Saltalamachia a break following three straight starts, including catching both ends of a rain-delayed double header earlier in the week.
- Bosox bedevil Angels; hit road for A.L. East confrontations (baseballtrashtalkin.org)
- Red Sox-Tigers Live: So Far, So Good for John Lackey As Game Remains Scoreless in Third Inning (nesn.com)