As the game began, it seemed like viewers were in line for a good old fashioned ace-off. Justin Verlander seemed to be in the zone, Chris Sale was pitching efficiently and much like the Sale the Tigers had come to dread in Chicago. This is the sixth time Verlander and Sale have gone up against each other and in the five previous meetings, the Tigers won each time.
The first two innings went quickly, scoreless. Then the Tigers squandered a runner on base in the third, and when the bottom of the inning rolled around it seemed as if a different Verlander was on the mound. Gone was the command, gone was the easy one-two-three rhythm. Soon the bases were loaded with no one out, and Dustin Pedroia knocked in the first run of the game.
The Tigers rallied back to tie the game in the fifth, Miguel Cabrera finally shaking off the dust of the opening game of the series. Verlander made it through five innings and tried to argue for a sixth, but was rebuffed by manager Brad Ausmus. Verlander’s final line was three runs on five hits, with four walks and three strikeouts. All in all it wasn’t a bad outing for the ace, especially considering he’s just coming off a groin injury.
Sale was good, in spite of the runs the Tigers were able to get. He worked cleanly for much of the game, lasting seven innings.
Sadly, the story for the Tigers was much the same it has been the last several outings, where the bullpen simply wasn’t able to keep the score close, giving up eight additional runs, and the offense was unable to make a comeback, seeing the game end in another loss. As the losses begin to mount and the Tigers slip further from the .500 mark, there’s more and more in-booth discussion about what the Tigers will do with the trade deadline coming. The Tigers need to start winning.
Justin Upton — after a double in the sixth that would have been a home run anywhere else but Fenway, Upton scored the tying run off a Mikie Mahtook double. He’s also now extended his hitting streak to nine games. Of course, Upton then failed to catch a Mitch Moreland hit to left field that ultimately allowed the two go-ahead runs to score. Maybe we can count this as a mew rather than a roar.
Mitch Moreland — Officially a Tiger-killer now. Yesterday he rocked Zimmermann. He continued to prove himself the bane of the Tigers’ pitching staff tonight, getting the go-ahead double in the seventh. He had two hits, a walk, and three RBIs tonight. This season he has seven doubles and six RBIs against Detroit. Mitch, please.
Arcenio León — the woes of the Tigers’ bullpen continue. Both Warwick Saupold and Arcenio León struggled to keep the runs low, and both ultimately helped Boston widen the gap. Saupold gave up three runs on four hits. León managed to hit first base umpire Alfonso Márquez with a wild toss meant to cover first base. Then he walked in the 10th run of the game. He ultimately allowed five runs to score on four hits.
STREAKS & INFO:
Countdown time! Victor Martinez, who collected one hit tonight, is now only nine hits shy of the 2000 hit mark.
Like Upton, Nicholas Castellanos extended his hit streak to nine games.