So it seems that no matter who the Tigers put in at closer, he is destined for failure. After a couple of weeks of fans clamoring for Joba Chamberlain to usurp Joe Nathan as closer, they got what they asked for on Sunday.
After pitching two nights in a row in non-save situations, Nathan was given the night off. He threw more than 30 pitchers in the ninth inning on Sunday, so Chamberlain filled the closers role on Sunday night and immediately got into a jam.
Brock Holt led of the ninth inning with a shot up the middle for his fourth hit on the evening. Xander Bogaerts struck out, Dustin Pedroia walked, and David Ortiz launched a no-doubter into the Detroit skyline to turn a 3-2 Tigers’ advantage to a 5-3 Red Sox lead they would not relinquish.
On the brighter side of things, Eugenio Suarez continued to swing a hot bat in his second big league start, driving in two key runs for the Tigers on Sunday Night Baseball.
Boston took a 1-0 lead in third inning when Sanchez loaded the bases with one out. Pedroia flew out to center field for a sacrifice fly. Suarez tied the score in the bottom half of that inning with a base hit that scored Austin Jackson. The next inning Victor Martinez singled in Miguel Cabrera from second base, making the score 2-1 and Cabrera appeared to be a bit hobbled after crossing home plate. Miggy stayed in the game, but after lacing a base hit to left field in the sixth inning, he was hobbled again and came out of the game.
The Tigers reported he suffered a tight hamstring and is listed as day-to-day.
Anibal Sanchez pitched well, but had a high pitch count not because of wildness, but because Boston batters continually fouled off pitches and worked the count deep. He allowed a lead-off homer to Mike Napoli, fresh of the disabled list, for his first long ball surrendered in 2014. That tied the score at two in the top of the sixth.
Detroit regained the lead at 3-2 when Suarez’s second hit of the game plated Nick Castellanos in the seventh inning.
Phil Coke came on to pitch in the seventh and eighth and allowed some traffic on the bases, but kept the Red Sox from scoring to preserve the lead and earn a hold.
The Tigers begin an interesting stretch of games in which they will face every one of their AL Central rivals over the next 14 days. It begins tomorrow night with the start of a four-game series in Chicago against the White Sox. Rick Porcello (8-3, 3.69) faces Hector Noesi (1-4, 5.29) with first pitch set for 8:10 p.m.