Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers beat the Boston Red Sox in their first meeting since the final game of the 2013 ALCS by a score of 1-0. Max Scherzer(W, 6-1, 1.83 ERA) had a strong start, despite an interesting strike zone called by home plate umpire Jeff Nelson and a rain delay that took him out of rhythm. Scherzer was absolutely dominant prior to the delay, and struck out the side in the third inning, throwing only ten pitches doing so. Coming back from the 47 minute delay, Max did struggle a bit. The first Boston hit of the night came with two out in the fourth, on a David Ortiz bomb that initially looked like it could leave the park, but ended up being a single when Ortiz tripped on first base. Scherzer then walked Mike Napoli, but struck out Mike Carp to end the inning. Max had a very rocky sixth; David Ross singled to start the inning and Dustin Pedroia walked to give the Sox two on with no one out. Scherzer got Grady Sizemore to ground into a double play, and then took Napoli down on strikes after issuing an intentional walk to Ortiz.
Somewhat surprisingly, Scherzer came out to pitch the seventh, but he didn’t remain in the game for long. Before recording an out, he gave up a single to Carp and was done for the night. His line: 6IP, 3H, 0R/ER, 4BB, 7K. Evan Reed replaced Scherzer and started his lackluster outing with a balk, advancing the tying run into scoring position. He then hit batter Xander Bogaerts in the thigh to give the Sox two on with nobody out. Reed finished his outing by recording a strike out on Jackie Bradley Jr. Ian Krol relieved Reed and got pinch hitter A.J. Pierzynski to ground into a double play and end the Boston scoring opportunity.
Joba Chamberlain was on his game once again, pitching a flawless eighth, and closer Joe Nathan(S, 11) started off the ninth by fanning Ortiz. Napoli flied out to Hunter for out number two and Carp grounded out to retire the side in order.
The Tigers offense worked Boston’s John Lester early, as he was having trouble hitting the strike zone in the first inning. Ian Kinsler singled with one out and advanced to second on Miguel Cabrera‘s walk. Victor Martinez struck out looking before a Torii Hunter single plated Kinsler and advanced Cabrera to third. Austin Jackson walked to load the bases and, when Alex Avila was up 3-0 in the count on Lester, what looked like ball four was called strike one and Lester retired the Tigers, with the bases loaded, by coming back and striking out Avila. There were other scoring opportunities, but the Tigers got into their own way with a caught stealing and also had a bit of bad luck with a Martinez liner that was drilled right at first baseman Napoli, and Cabrera who had been leading off was tagged out.
The Tigers left 13 men on base this evening, but luckily the only run they needed was the run knocked in by Hunter in the first.