After battling Chris Sale in the day game, the Detroit Tigers looked to sweep their doubleheader at Fenway Park, this time facing a spot start for the Red Sox. Spencer Turnbull and the Tigers had to earn every out and run, but in the end they prevailed with a 4-2 win.
While Detroit’s hitters worked Chris Sale early in game one, they struggled to make contact against Hector Velazquez. Sale had thrown 44 pitches by the end of his second inning. Velazquez was finally lifted in the fourth inning at just 55 pitches, after two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out. The Tigers’ fortunes changed as soon as Velazquez came out of the game; Brandon Dixon greeted Marcus Walden with a double down the line that cleared the bases and put the Tigers ahead, 3-0.
In stark contrast to Matthew Boyd’s outing earlier on Tuesday, Spencer Turnbull was not able to cruise through the Red Sox lineup with ease. Turnbull worked with at least two men on base through each of the first three innings, getting key double plays when he needed them to keep the Red Sox off the board. His fourth inning was his only clean frame of the night. Yet he hung in and battled, coming up with big ground balls and strikeouts when needed. His line after five innings wasn’t pretty, save for the zero runs allowed — he gave up three hits, four walks, and two strikeouts on 94 pitches.
The later innings proved to be even more nailbiting. Buck Farmer came on to relieve Turnbull in the sixth inning, and would have to work around two more baserunners to keep the Sox off the board. The Tigers threatened in the top of the seventh but fail to score. Meanwhile, the Red Sox got on the board in the bottom of the inning on some well-placed fly balls against Joe Jimenez, scoring one run. Victor Alcantara was given the ball in the eighth inning, and he allowed a solo home run to Michael Chavis. This cut the Tigers’ lead to one run. Ron Gardenhire then used call-ups Jose Manuel Fernandez and Zac Reininger in a desperate hunt for the final out of the inning, which Reininger finally got, stranding a runner on base.
The Tigers scratched across a run in the ninth thanks to doubles from Ronny Rodriguez and John Hicks. They made a bid to score one more on a Jeimer Candelario single, but Mookie Betts easily threw out Hicks at home. Shane Greene provided an anti-climatic ninth inning, allowing just a single to J.D. Martinez, to secure his 11th save of the year.
Stat/Tweet of the Game
With a win tonight, the Tigers can sweep a doubleheader at Fenway Park for the first time since Aug. 20, 1965, according to @baseball_ref.— Anthony Fenech (@anthonyfenech) April 23, 2019
Who was the Player of the Game?
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Brandon Dixon: 3-4, 2 2B, 3 RBI
John Hicks: 2-3, 2B, RBI, BB