Detroit’s Max Scherzer made Tiger history Saturday night. And the Boston Red Sox paid the price. The undefeated Detroit starter calmed down after surrendering two runs to the Red Sox in the first inning to complete a quality start and become the first Tiger pitcher in franchise history to begin a season with an unblemished 11-0 record by defeating Boston 10-3. Victor Martinez led Detroit’s hit parade with a first inning grand slam, the third grand slam in his Major League career to provide Scherzer and Detroit all the offense they would need
Scherzer finished the game with 7 innings pitched, 2 earned runs on five hits, no walks and 6 strike outs. In moving his personal mark to 11-0, Scherzer ties Roger Clemens’ 1997 Major League record of perfect starts at 11-0 which Clemens accomplished with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Boston jumped on Scherzer right out of the gate. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game with a single and moved to third on Shane Victorno’s single. Dustin Pedroia scored Ellsbury on an infield double play grounder to make it 1-0, and David Ortiz followed with his 16th home run of the season to give Boston an early 2-0 leg up.
Detroit answered instantly, loading the bases against Boston’s Allen Webster with singles from Austin Jackson, Torri Hunter, a walk to Miguel Cabrera followed by a Grand Slam home run from Victor Martinez, his career third, to give Detroit the lead at 4-2 after just one inning of play.
The Tigers padded their lead in the 4th inning when Andy Dirks singled off Webster, stole second and scored on Austin Jackson’s RBI single to make it 5-2 Tigers.
Detroit tacked on two more runs to make it 7-2 in the bottom of the fifth. Webster was relieved after getting Cabrera to ground out to start the inning and was replaced by Boston reliever Franklin Morales. The Tigers took batting practice against Morales. Chalking up a base on balls and three straight singles with RBIs credited to Victor Martinez to give him five on the night and another by Jhonny Peralta.
The Tigers left no doubt by building a 9-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh when Martinez worked Morales for a walk, then circled the bases two batters later when Omar Infante tagged Morales to a 2-run homer to left.
Detroit’s lead grew to 10-2 after eight when Prince Fielder was credited with an RBI after grounding into a double play with the bases loaded, with all activity coming off Boston’s second relief pitcher Alex Wilson.
Boston added a meaningless run in the top of the ninth when Jarrod Saltalamachia singled in Mike Carp to make the final 10-3.
Webster, all of 23, and making just his third Major League start, finished the night going 4-and-two-thirds, giving up 5 earned runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out five in taking the loss to go 0-2 in his brief major league career.
Saturday’s loss put the Red Sox in a scramble position to seek a 2-2 split in the four game series with Detroit and sets up a Sunday match up between last year’s A.L. Cy Young winner Justin Verlander at 8-5 versus Boston’s improving starter Felix Doubront at 4-3.
The loss also dropped Boston to 45-32, still best in the American League and moved the Red Sox to 22-17 on the road while reducing their head-to-head advantage over Central Division teams to 13-10.
The Red Sox get an off day Monday before returning to Fenway for a two game Inter-League set against Colorado, followed by a four-game home stand against the hard-charging Toronto Blue Jays to close out the challenging month of June. Thanks to the Jays’ Saturday afternoon win over the Orioles, Boston managed to retain its 2 game lead over Baltimore in the A.L. East.
The Red Sox pitching staff was expecting to get a boost Tuesday with the return of undefeated Clay Buchholz, but Buchholz continues to experience pain in his collarbone area and will again be scratched. His situation will force the Red Sox to juggle their projected pitching rotation and may trigger another call to activate Alredo Aceves and give him another spot start on a call up from Pawtucket. Aceves has been on an elevator between Triple-A and the parent club this year, but has responded well with a 4-1 record this far.
- Scherzer improves to 11-0 for Tigers (wdsu.com)
- Tigers thump Red Sox as Scherzer goes to 11-0 (toledoblade.com)