Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The last time the Detroit Tigers played the Boston Red Sox was the last time the Tigers were playing with any sort of regular successful results. Thankfully, playing the BoSox again seemed to have reminded the Tigers that they’re supposed to be a contending ball club and they were able to turn in solid performances, for the most part, on both sides of the diamond and notch a 6-2 victory.
Tigers starter Drew Smyly(W, 3-4, 3.81ERA) had a shaky start to the game, giving up a run in the first inning, but settled in and gave what was easily his best performance in a month. Smyly was able to keep his pitch count down enough to take him through the sixth inning, where he encountered his first troublesome situation since the first inning. After a flyout by Xander Boegarts, Dustin Pedroia reached on a throwing error by short stop Andrew Romine, and David Ortiz singled, leaving Smyly with runners on the corners and one out. Smyly got Johnny Gomes to fly out, which scored a run, but was able to keep it to one and get a quality start.
Lefty Ian Krol entered to pitch the seventh. He gave up a single to Jonathon Herrara, but was able to end the inning unscathed. He struck out two.
Eighth inning man Joba Chamberlain was reliable, as he continues to thrive and succeed in his role as a set up man. He worked a one-two-three inning, getting the final out on a Ortiz ground out. It should be noted that during the Ortiz at bat, Avila was hit in the head on Ortiz’s backswing, and after a few minutes of arguing with Kevin Rand, Brad Ausmus removed Avila from the game, subbing in Bryan Holaday.
Though it wasn’t a save opportunity, Joe Nathan took the mound to close out the game. He looked better than he has in several appearances, and while he did give up a 2 out single to Grady Sizemore, he pitched a scoreless ninth without any real scares. Which is saying something.
Tigers offense was slow to start yet again, unable to get a man on base in the first two innings of Rubby De La Rosa(L, 1-1, 2.84 ERA). In the third inning though, Nick Castellanos led off with a double and scored when Romine followed him with a single. The potential for a big inning was ended when Rajai Davis hit into a fielder’s choice, eliminating the lead runner and Ian Kinsler followed that with an inning ending double play.
The Tigers took the lead in the fourth inning, with Torii Hunter knocking a base hit to lead off the inning, followed by a base hit by Miguel Cabrera. Victor Martinez hit a deep line drive to center, which looked sure to get beyond Boston center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. but Bradley made a fantastic play and Cabrera doubled off in disbelief. Alex Avila and Austin Jackson also singled in the fourth, but were stranded when Castellanos grounded out to end the inning.
With two out in the fifth inning, Kinsler and Hunter hit back to back home runs to extend the Tigers’ lead. Martinez also had a solo dinger in the eighth inning, which was followed by Holaday’s first career triple. Holaday scored on Jackson’s sac fly and Nick Castellanos kept the hits going with his third hit of the evening, but was doubled off when Romine lined out to Dustin Pedroia.
The Tigers hope to continue winning when they play Boston again tomorrow night at 7:15pm, with John Lester(6-6, 3.15 ERA) facing off against Max Scherzer(6-2, 3.20 ERA).