The Detroit Tigers faced Dave Dombrowski's Red Sox for the first time and matched up against the recently acquired Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz was looking to bounce back after a rough first start with the team. Early on, he looked worth the high cost it took to acquire him. His curveball was wicked and he struck out both Ian Kinsler and Victor Martinez with the pitch, which sat around 80 miles per hour.
Nick Castellanos helped out Justin Verlander in the first inning, making one of the best plays of his young career on a grounder that took him past third base. Castellanos made another solid play for the second out and a grounder to Kinsler ended the inning. Nick continued his one-man show with a leadoff double in the second, but the Tigers failed to bring him home.
James McCann completely misjudged a pop-up in foul territory, giving David Ortiz free swings against Verlander. Verlander rebounded with 95 at the letters, striking out the man who haunts all of our dreams. A terrible bounce off of second base gave the Red Sox a baserunner with two outs. Travis Shaw hit a double and gave the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead. Verlander would escape with no further damage, but 42 pitches through two innings was ominous.
The Tigers offensive woes continued and Pomeranz took advantage. Verlander had a much-needed 10-pitch inning in the fourth, picking up two strikeouts. Jose Iglesias missed an opportunity to turn two in the fifth, as Verlander's pitch count climbed ever higher through little fault of his own.
Then came the redemption. Iglesias destroyed a ball in the sixth inning to make it 2-1, Tigers. Iglesias crushed it over the Green Monster and he let everyone know that he knew that it was gone. Verlander made it through the sixth, ending his night with a 97 mile-per-hour fastball to strike out Travis Shaw and strand two baserunners.
Joe Kelly came on in the seventh featuring great stuff, but Justin Upton hit a leadoff triple. Mike Aviles flew out, but not deep enough to drive in the run. McCann pitched in with a gritty at-bat ending in a blooper presciently placed out of reach of the pulled-in infielders to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead. Shane Greene came on in the seventh and gave up a leadoff single and a walk, but worked around it. Clay Buchholz came out in the eighth, the third former starting pitcher in a row to pitch in relief. Iglesias hit a bloop single to left and would eventually score on a Victor Martinez ground ball single to push the lead to 4-1. The pulled-in infield was good for the Tigers tonight.
Justin Wilson came on for the eighth and a would-be home run by David Ortiz was a single thanks to that absurd wall. Hanley followed with a single and a horribly familiar feeling set in. Baseball is always the same and it will always be the same. It is our fault for ever thinking it could be otherwise. Jackie Bradley Jr. loaded the bases with another single. Bullpen cop probably loved it. Ennui, nihilism, and mediocrity filled the air. Some random Red Sock struck out, but another single cut the Tigers' lead to two. Wilson then struck out Brock Holt.
In a strange but welcome about face, Ausmus went to his pen to get Francisco Rodriguez for the four-out save. K-Rod induced a ground out to end the inning, 4-2, Tigers. Surely my eyes were lying, but others have confirmed that this is what occurred. There is a moral to this story somewhere.
In a less shocking turn of events, the Aviles-McCann-Romine part of the order failed to score off of Clay Buchholz, going down one-two-three. K-Rod came out in the ninth and looked great, picking up the save with an easy inning. The Tigers win.
Justin Verlander: The Tigers ace had another strong night, holding the potent Red Sox lineup to one run through six, striking out five, allowing five hits and two walks.
Jose Iglesias: Despite a mental mistake, Iglesias did make a great play in the sixth and hit an absolute no doubter to give the Tigers the lead.
Mike Aviles: He displayed poor defense and offense and those are all of the parts of baseball that he plays.
Justin Wilson: Wilson gave up four singles while giving everyone extremely unwelcome flashbacks to 2013.
STATS AND INFO:
- Iglesias' bomb was his first career home run at Fenway.
- Justin Verlander picked up his 10th win of the season, lowering his ERA to 3.64.
WIN PROBABILITY GRAPH: