We are one month removed from Nick Castellanos' "benching," and the ploy is still working. Castellanos hit a double and a home run, driving in three runs, and Alfredo Simon provided six strong innings in an easy 5-1 win for the Detroit Tigers on Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead with runs in their first two trips to the plate. Yoenis Cespedes obliterated a Steven Wright knuckleball off of one of the signs towering over the Green Monster in left field in the top of the first inning for a solo home run. J.D. Martinez led off the second inning with a walk, and later came around to score. A pair of passed balls from rookie catcher Blake Swihart -- the second on a swinging third strike from Alex Avila -- put runners on the corners with one out. James McCann hit a sharp ground ball to third base, but second baseman Brock Holt could not turn the double play, and Martinez scored.
The Red Sox threatened in the bottom of the second, but a pair of excellent defensive plays kept them off the scoreboard. David Ortiz doubled to lead off the inning, but was thrown out by Yoenis Cespedes when trying to score from second on a Hanley Ramirez single. After Ramirez advanced to third, James McCann made an athletic play to block a pitch in the dirt with two outs. Alfredo Simon struck out Mike Napoli on the next pitch to end the inning.
The Tigers doubled their lead in the top of the fourth. After a pair of singles and another passed ball, Castellanos laced a ground-rule double to deep center field, scoring both Victor and J.D. Martinez. McCann hit a sharp line drive following the double, but Xander Bogaerts made a shoestring catch and tossed to second to double off Castellanos, ending the frame. The Red Sox threatened to cut their deficit in the bottom half of the inning, loading the bases with two outs, but Simon induced a weak groundout from Napoli to end the frame.
The Red Sox got on the board in the fifth. Blake Swihart tripled to right, then scored on a Mookie Betts groundout. Nick Castellanos responded immediately in the top of the sixth with a deep solo home run to left that cleared the Green Monster and left the stadium.
While he allowed some hard contact, Alfredo Simon pitched well, but left the game in the top of the seventh with an injury. He ended up working six innings, allowing one run on five hits and a pair of walks. Ian Krol and Alex Wilson teamed up to get through the seventh unscathed. Wilson pitched a scoreless eighth, and Joakim Soria worked the ninth to close the door for the Tigers.
Nick Castellanos: The recent surge continues for Castellanos, who had two hits that traveled over 400 feet. His ground-rule double to deep center scored two runs in the fourth, then he added a monster solo home run onto Lansdowne Street in the sixth.
Alfredo Simon: It wasn't pretty at times, but the final result was. Simon held the Sox to a single run in six innings, allowing just five hits and two walks. Simon left the game in the seventh due to an injury.
Alex Wilson: Retired all five batters he faced, with two strikeouts. Business as usual.
Rajai Davis & Ian Kinsler: Not a strong day from the top of the lineup. Davis and Kinsler combined to go 1-for-9 with a walk. The lone hit of the afternoon came from Davis in the ninth, and Kinsler promptly grounded into a double play.
Alex Avila: He hit a sharp liner in the top of the eighth, but Avila also went 0-fer at the plate today with a pair of strikeouts. He did make a nice defensive play at first base, however, stretching for a throw from Ian Kinsler to complete a double play in the bottom of the seventh.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Nick Castellanos added three RBI on a pair of hits today, bringing his total to 20 runs driven in since June 23. Castellanos entered the game batting .304/.356/.511 in his last 26 games.
- Statcast measured Yoenis Cespedes' home run in the first inning at 431 feet with a 108 mile-per-hour exit velocity.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: