Final, Red Sox 10-6: The Tigers posted a run in the ninth inning, but the Red Sox already had things pretty much wrapped up. Boston bounced back from Thursday’s heartbreaker to earn a 10-6 victory in Detroit.
Shane Victorino led the way, smacking four hits and driving in five runs as part of the winning effort. It was his best game as a member of the Red Sox, and him and Jacoby Ellsbury caused plenty of havoc atop the Boston order. Ellsbury reached base three times, scored two runs and picked up two RBIs.
Stephen Drew and Jose Iglesias also caused havoc at the bottom of the order. Drew and Iglesias each had three hits. Drew scored three runs and Iglesias scored two.
Jon Lester wasn’t all that sharp — again. He surrendered five runs on nine hits while walking three and striking out three over 5 2/3 innings. He still earned the win, but the Red Sox’ bats provided him with plenty of run support.
Victorino went deep for Boston, while Andy Dirks and Miguel Cabrera added long balls for Detroit. Cabrera’s three-run homer in the fifth inning actually pulled the Tigers to within a run, but the Red Sox soon padded their lead to the point where a closer wasn’t necessary.
The Red Sox and Tigers will do it again on Saturday. Rookie Allen Webster will go up against the undefeated Max Scherzer (10-0). The action is scheduled to start up at 7:15 p.m.
Good night, everyone.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 10-5: You can’t afford any miscues in this outfield.
Stephen Drew singled into right-center field with two outs in the ninth. Jose Iglesias then smacked a ball into center that Avisail Garcia misplayed, resulting in a run.
Iglesias should have been limited to a single, but the ball skipped past Garcia, and Drew scored all the way from first base. Iglesias ended up on second base.
Andrew Miller will now try to finish this game off for Boston.
End 8th, Red Sox 9-5: The big news surrounding the Red Sox on Friday was the team’s closer situation. They’ll enter the ninth inning in a non-save situation.
Craig Breslow worked through a two-out walk to pitch a scoreless inning in the eighth. Jhonny Peralta grounded out to third and Avisail Garcia lined out to center before Andy Dirks’ two-out walk, and Brayan Pena flied out to right-center field to end the inning.
One thing to note from the eighth inning is that Daniel Nava had his thumb taped up while playing left field. I mentioned earlier that he responded awkwardly following a swing and miss, so this adds even more fuel to that fire. He’s playing through whatever the thumb issue is, though, so perhaps it’s nothing to be concerned about.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 9-5: The Red Sox have some breathing room after beating out a couple of plays at the plate.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off the eighth inning with a five-pitch walk, and Stephen Drew followed with a line-drive down the right field line that kicked up into the seats for a ground-rule double.
Al Alburquerque took over for Phil Coke at that point, but he couldn’t keep the Red Sox off the scoreboard.
Jose Iglesias grounded to second base with the infield pulled in for the first out. Shane Victorino also hit a ball on the ground in the infield, but Saltalamacchia beat out shortstop Jhonny Peralta’s throw to the plate to score Boston’s eighth run. Tigers manager Jim Leyland came out to contest the call, but replays showed that Salty was indeed safe. Victorino now has five RBIs in this game.
Dustin Pedroia popped out for the second out, but we then had another play at the plate. A wild pitch got away from catcher Brayan Pena with David Ortiz batting, and Drew immediately took off for home. Pena tossed to Alburquerque, but Drew dived in safely just ahead of the tag.
Alburquerque put Ortiz on intentionally after the run-scoring wild pitch, and Mike Napoli popped out with the bases loaded to end the inning. Craig Breslow will now come back out for the bottom of the eighth inning with a little more cushion.
End 7th, Red Sox 7-5: Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow combined to keep the Tigers’ offense at bay.
Tazawa got Torii Hunter to hit a lazy ground ball to second base for the first out. He was then lifted after Miguel Cabrera singled into right field.
Shane Victorino actually tried to throw out Cabrera at first base on the slugger’s hit into right. Victorino’s throw wasn’t in time, although he shot Cabrera a big smile after his aggressive bid. Cabrera has now reached base four times.
Breslow took over for Tazawa with the left-handed hitting Prince Fielder at the dish. Fielder, who has grounded into two double plays, made a loud out. He lifted a deep fly ball to the spacious center field at Comerica Park, and Jacoby Ellsbury handled it for the second out.
Victor Martinez flied out to shallow left field to end the inning. Daniel Nava needed to pick up the pace at the last second to make the running grab.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 7-5: Phil Coke tossed a quick, 1-2-3 inning in the seventh.
David Ortiz, who hit an RBI single off Coke on Thursday, grounded to second base to begin the inning. Mike Napoli then tested out third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who handled a ground ball cleanly and fired to first for the second out.
Daniel Nava, who suddenly finds himself in a little bit of a rut, struck out on three pitches to end the frame. It looked like he might have tweaked something on his first swing of the at-bat, as he appeared to grimace, and he never fully recovered. Nava is staying in the game, though, so it doesn’t appear to be anything significant.
Junichi Tazawa, who recorded the final out of the sixth inning, will come back out to start the bottom of the seventh.
End 6th, Red Sox 7-5: Jon Lester exited with two outs in the sixth inning. He’s currently in line for a win despite surrendering five runs.
Lester issued a one-out walk to Andy Dirks in the sixth, but he otherwise finished on a good note. Lester struck out both Avisail Garcia and Brayan Pena before John Farrell called upon Junichi Tazawa to get the last out of the inning.
Tazawa, who figured to be one the Red Sox’ closer candidates, took care of Omar Infante on two pitches. Infante flied out to right-center field.
Lester gave up five runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked three, struck out three and threw 102 pitches (57 strikes).
Mid 6th, Red Sox 7-5: Shane Victorino is having a big game.
Victorino singled home a run with two outs in the sixth inning, and he’s now 4-for-4 with four RBIs. Victorino started his night with a first-inning home run, and he hasn’t stopped hitting since.
The sixth-inning run was made possible by Jose Iglesias’ one-out triple. Iglesias smacked a ball right down the right field line, and Torii Hunter took a strange route to it. The ball rolled all the way into the corner, and Iglesias ended up on third base before all was said and done.
End 5th, Red Sox 6-5: This game has changed dramatically.
Andy Dirks cut into Boston’s lead with a leadoff home run. Jon Lester threw a fastball right over the plate, and Dirks drove it into the right field seats for his sixth home run of the season.
That was just the beginning.
Brayan Pena swung at the first pitch he saw, and he sent a blooper into right field. Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli all converged on the popup, but it got down for a hit.
Torii Hunter added a single to put two runners on for Miguel Cabrera, who showed why he’s the best hitter in baseball. Cabrera jumped on a first-pitch changeup down in the zone. He launched a three-run homer to bring the Tigers to within a run.
Lester worked around a Victor Martinez walk to escape the inning with a lead still intact. But the margin has become a whole lot thinner, thanks to a couple of big flies.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 6-1: The Red Sox were victimized by a baserunning blunder in the fifth inning.
Mike Napoli singled for the second time in this game, but a rather dumb play wiped him off the basepaths and gave the Tigers two quick outs.
Daniel Nava hit a sharp liner to right field. Torii Hunter made the play, and then fired to first base to double-up Napoli. It was a mental miscue by Napoli, for sure, but Hunter did a nice job of deking out the Red Sox first baseman.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out swinging to end the inning.
End 4th, Red Sox 6-1: Jon Lester has a five-run cushion. It’s important for him to throw strikes.
Lester did that in the fourth inning. He retired the Tigers in order on 11 pitches.
Victor Martinez and Avisail Garcia each grounded out, and Jhonny Peralta popped out.
It was the first inning that Lester didn’t allow a baserunner.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 6-1: Doug Fister was knocked from the game in the fourth inning.
The Red Sox’ bats really did some damage, pushing across four more runs before Jim Leyland turned to the bullpen.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Stephen Drew and Jose Iglesias each singled to lead off the fourth. Saltalamacchia and Drew singled into right field, while Iglesias picked up another infield single on a slow ground ball to short.
Jacoby Ellsbury started the fourth-inning scoring with a double down the right field line. The two-bagger plated two runs, and Iglesias was held at third base.
It didn’t take long for Iglesias to score Boston’s fifth run. Shane Victorino drove in both Iglesias and Ellsbury with a two-run single into center field.
Fister’s night ended after he gave up a hit to Dustin Pedroia. Leyland called upon Darin Downs, who got the Tigers out of any further damage by getting David Ortiz to ground into an inning-ending, 4-6-3 double play.
End 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: Prince Fielder’s night is off to a rough start.
Fielder grounded into another inning-ending double play in the third inning. It came after Miguel Cabrera walked with one down.
Lester, who labored a bit in the first and second innings, has thrown 56 pitches (30 strikes) thus far.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: The Red Sox have regained the lead.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino struck back-to-back singles with out in the third inning. Both were sent into right field, and Ellsbury managed to go from first to third on Victorino’s base knock.
The extra base that Ellsbury took was big, as he came across when Dustin Pedroia hit a slow roller in the infield. Miguel Cabrera made a fantastic, barehanded play to throw out Pedroia, but the little dribbler got the job done.
The Tigers decided to put David Ortiz aboard with first base open and two outs. The move worked, as Doug Fister retired Mike Napoli on a groundout to second base to end the inning.
Victorino, who homered back in the first inning, is now 2-for-2 in this ballgame. He has a long way to go before reaching Nomar Garciaparra’s feat on this date back in 2003, though.
Garciaparra went 6-for-6 in a 13-inning loss to the Phillies on June 21, 2003. He became the fourth player in franchise history to rack up six hits in a game, and no one has done it for the Red Sox since.
End 2nd, 1-1: Jon Lester, who escaped a first-inning jam, couldn’t escape the second inning unharmed.
Victor Martinez singled to lead off the bottom of the second. Martinez grounded a ball down to third base that Jose Iglesias fielded on the back hand. Iglesias was so deep in the infield, though, that he wasn’t able to deliver an accurate throw in time.
Jhonny Peralta followed up with a single of his own, putting runners at first and second, before Lester started to settle down. Lester struck out Avisail Garcia and got Andy Dirks to fly out to center.
Lester then got to two strikes on Brayan Pena, but Pena demonstrated a nice piece of hitting. The Tigers catcher reached out and poked a 3-2 pitch that was outside into right field. Martinez scored from second base to tie the game.
Omar Infante couldn’t give Detroit an early lead. He bounced out in the middle of the infield to end the inning.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Mike Napoli was 90 feet away from scoring Boston’s second run, but Doug Fister hung him up at third base.
Napoli, who is in the midst of a power outage, singled into center field to lead off the second inning. He moved up to second when Daniel Nava grounded to second base, and he advanced to third when Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a ball that exploded on Prince Fielder down at first base.
Fister made sure Napoli didn’t cross the plate by getting Stephen Drew to fly out harmlessly to left field.
End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: It wasn’t long before Jon Lester found himself in trouble. But he managed to escape it.
Torii Hunter struck a one-out double down the left field line to put the wheels in motion on the Tigers’ offense. The ball briefly bounced away from Daniel Nava, which prompted Hunter to take a wide turn around second base, but the veteran outfielder decided to toss on the brakes.
Miguel Cabrera then grounded a base hit through the left side that moved Hunter up to third base. Prince Fielder couldn’t cash in with runners at the corners and one out, though. He grounded into a tailor-made, 6-4-3 double play.
One thing that Lester hasn’t done during his struggles is escape jams, so his ability to do so in the first inning is a positive. Obviously, Lester would rather just limit those types of opportunities, however.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Doug Fister is an excellent ground-ball pitcher, so expect to see a lot of balls down in the zone. Shane Victorino got one he liked.
After Jacoby Ellsbury grounded back to the mound for the first out of the game, Fister fell behind Victorino. The right-hander then delivered a strike in a 3-0 count, but The Flyin’ Hawaiian drove Fister’s next pitch out of the yard.
Victorino got a 3-1 fastball down and in, and he golfed it right down the right field line. It was just inside the foul pole for Victorino’s third home run of the season.
Dustin Pedroia singled through the right side with one out, but David Ortiz grounded into a 3-6-1 double play to end the inning.
7:09 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury takes a first-pitch strike, and we’re underway.
7:02 p.m.: This game could be a battle for Jon Lester. Not only is he struggling, but the Tigers’ lineup is extremely talented and the left-hander hasn’t had much success against Detroit in the past.
In fact, he hasn’t had any success. Lester enters Friday’s start with a 4.78 ERA in five career starts against Detroit. He’s never beaten the Tigers, making them one of only two American League clubs that he has not earned a win against in his career — the other club is the Astros, who just joined the AL this season.
6:18 p.m.: So what’s next for Andrew Bailey now that he’s been removed as the Red Sox’ closer?
Well, Bailey doesn’t expect the change to last very long. He is still confident that he’ll be the team’s closer again at some point.
“One bad week doesn’t necessarily make a bad year,” Bailey told reporters in Detroit. “The guy that was here in April and May is still here. I just need to work on some things and I’ll be back out there. I fully believe I’m the guy here to do that job. Right now, we’re going to go with someone else for a little bit, but I don’t think it’s a permanent thing.”
Bailey said he completely understands Farrell’s decision to make a change at this point, noting, “I’m not doing the job.” We’ll see if a little time away from the role can help him during his quest to figure some things out.
5:49 p.m.: Andrew Bailey has — at least temporarily — been removed as the Red Sox’ closer.
Bailey, who blew another save in Thursday’s series opener, will not be the one called upon if a save situation arises on Friday. Instead, the Red Sox will turn to Koji Uehara.
John Farrell decided before Friday’s game that Uehara will take over the closer duties for the time being, and the decision was based on the veteran’s experience.
“We’re very confident when he walks to the mound,” Farrell told reporters in Detroit. “He’s been very good for us. He’s had success in closing opportunities previous. There’s an element of not only dependability but success in the past that we’re turning to.”
Uehara saved 13 games for the Orioles in 2010. This season, he has thrived in a setup role, and the right-hander said that he won’t change anything after being named the closer. That means you can expect Uehara to go after hitters and pound the strike zone — just like he’s done all year.
5:06 p.m.: Will Middlebrooks will be the odd man out when it comes to the left side of the infield on Friday. The complete lineups are below.
Red Sox (44-31)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Jose Iglesias, 3B
Jon Lester, LHP (6-4, 4.37 ERA)
Omar Infante, 2B
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Prince Fielder, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Avisail Garcia, CF
Andy Dirks, LF
Brayan Pena, C
Doug Fister, RHP (6-4, 3.21 ERA)
1:40 p.m.: One thing that’s worth noting is that Andrew Miller was actually warming up in the Red Sox’ bullpen while Andrew Bailey gave up the walk-off home run on Thursday. That shows that John Farrell wanted to have another arm ready in case Bailey struggled, but could it also mean that Miller will handle the ninth-inning duties on Friday should the opportunity arise?
I took a look at some of the Red Sox’ internal closer options after Thursday’s game. Check out the link below to see how they stack up during what will be a huge test for Farrell.
8 a.m. ET: There will be no shortage of storylines when the Red Sox play the Tigers on Friday night.
Andrew Bailey blew another save on Thursday, and John Farrell said after the game that he thinks it’s time to explore other ninth-inning options. He didn’t go into detail about what those options are, but if the Red Sox find themselves in a save situation on Friday, it’ll be interesting to see who the Red Sox skipper summons from the bullpen.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. The Red Sox need to take care of business over the first eight innings before the closer situation even becomes a questions. And with the way Jon Lester has pitched recently, it’s no foregone conclusion that he’ll be able to hold the potent Tigers offense in check.
Lester enters Friday’s game with an 0-4 record and 7.20 ERA over his last six starts. The struggles come despite Lester looking like a legitimate ace out of the gate this season, and they’re even more concerning given Clay Buchholz’s injury. The Red Sox need a bounce-back effort from the southpaw, and he’ll have his hands full on Friday.
Friday’s tilt is scheduled to kick off at 7:08 p.m. Be sure to tune in on NESN, and follow along with NESN.com’s live blog.