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Red Sox 2, Tigers 1: Offense absent again, spoiling Justin Verlander's stellar outing

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Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello dueled to a stalemate, but the Red Sox pushed across a run in the 11th inning to win the series opener.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

For whatever reason, the Detroit Tigers just can't put everything together this season. Justin Verlander gave the Tigers a dominant starting performance, their second in as many days, but a lackluster offense couldn't plate enough runs and the Boston Red Sox won a 2-1 game in walkoff fashion.

The Tigers opened the scoring in the top of the third inning. Jose Iglesias led off the inning with a double off of the Green Monster in left field, then advanced to third base on a groundout. Ian Kinsler lined a 1-0 slider into center field to score Iglesias, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead. After Kinsler stole second base with two outs, Victor Martinez hit a sharp liner to right field, but directly at Shane Victorino to end the inning.

The Red Sox tied the game on a trio of singles in the bottom of the inning. Shane Victorino and Ryan Hanigan singled with one out before Verlander struck out Mookie Betts after a long at-bat. Verlander hung an 0-2 curveball to Brock Holt, who lined it into center field, driving in Victorino.

That would be it for offense over the next several innings. Both Verlander and Red Sox starter Rick Porcello settled in nicely, inducing plenty of weak contact without allowing any more runs. Porcello retired 10 consecutive Tigers batters at one point, while Verlander did not allow an extra-base hit. Verlander eventually outlasted his former teammate, working eight innings to Porcello's seven.

The Tigers threatened with two outs in the top of the eighth inning. Kinsler hit a triple to deep center field (a.k.a. Fenway Park's "Bermuda Triangle"), but was stranded at third base when Junichi Tazawa struck out Yoenis Cespedes to end the inning. The Red Sox put a runner into scoring position in the ninth but Mike Napoli hit a screaming line drive straight into Al Alburquerque's glove, sending the game into extras.

The Tigers' season-long baserunning adventures continued in the 11th. With two runners on base and one out, Victor Martinez struck out on a 3-2 pitch. Kinsler was running from second base, but Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan threw him out by several feet, ending the inning with J.D. Martinez in the on-deck circle. The Red Sox wasted little time taking advantage of their good fortune, scoring a run in the bottom half of the inning. Mookie Betts walked to open the inning, then moved up to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Holt. Betts later scored the game-winning run on a Xander Bogaerts single, though it took a lengthy video review to confirm the call.

ROARS:

Justin Verlander: After a lengthy third inning, it looked as if Verlander wouldn't make it very deep into the game. Instead, he continued to pound the strike zone, resulting in his best outing of the season. Verlander scattered seven hits (all singles) over eight innings, allowing just one run. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.

Ian Kinsler: Another day, another multi-hit game for Kinsler. Ian drove in the Tigers' first run of the game in the third inning with an RBI single. He hit a triple to deep center field in the top of the eighth, but was stranded at third base when Yoenis Cespedes struck out to end the threat. Kinsler added a single in the 11th.

HISSES:

Marc Krauss: Another 0-fer for Krauss. He is 5-for-33 in a Tigers uniform.

Yoenis Cespedes and Victor Martinez: A pair of 0-for-4 nights for two of the Tigers' best hitters, though Cespedes drew a walk in the 10th. Cespedes had a chance to break the 1-1 tie in the eighth inning, but could not lay off the high fastball against reliever Junichi Tazawa.

STREAKS AND STATS:
  • Ian Kinsler's RBI single in the third inning extended his hit streak to five games. Prior to tonight's game, Kinsler was batting .377/.403/.638 since moving to the leadoff spot on July 3.
  • Jose Iglesias also extended his hitting streak to five games. His double in the third inning was his seventh of the month of July. Iglesias has 10 hits in his last five starts.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH:


Source: FanGraphs