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So Close, Yet So Far: Red Sox 6, Tigers 5

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Making too much of one loss in a four-game series is probably silly. But I wonder if the Tigers are going to look back later on and think this is one they should've gotten.

The Red Sox had to be worn out after playing late on Sunday night. Brad Penny kept leaving pitches out over the plate, begging to be hit. Yet in typical fashion for this Tigers team - especially on the road - too many scoring opportunities were wasted.

Squandering those runners in scoring position was magnified once it became clear that it wasn't going to be Edwin Jackson's night. And that was apparent immediately, when Jackson gave up a leadoff double to Jacoby Ellsbury, followed by a homer from Dustin Pedroia. One inning later, Nick Green - carrying a whopping home run total of five into the game - led off the second by mashing a ball over the Green Monster.

Jackson ended up throwing 104 pitches in four innings as the Red Sox wore him down. But he did manage to keep the game in check until the Tigers' bats could get going. And they finally did with a two-run fourth inning.

By the seventh, the Tigers even tied the game at 6-6, thanks in large part to a red-hot Placido Polanco (who notched his second straight three-hit game). It looked like Detroit might be able to break through, if only the pitching could hold off the Red Sox offense.

Unfortunately, Zach Miner did what he's done far too often lately: give up runs. To be more specific, he's allowed four runs over his last four outings (covering 6.2 innings). Miner gave up singles to two of the first three hitters he faced in the Boston half of the seventh, and unlike the Tigers, the Red Sox put the ball in play with runners in scoring position, bringing home the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly by Green.

However, the Tigers had a chance to tie the game, if not take the lead, in the eighth, with runners on second and third and one out. But Adam Everett struck out in an awful at-bat, swinging and missing at three consecutive pitches way out of the strike zone (two of which had to be blocked by the catcher).

Striking out in that situation is not a crime. But failing to at least battle a pitcher with two men on base, and the game at stake, was horrible. (Curtis Granderson popping out to the catcher wasn't very good, either, but at least he made contact.)

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