Final: Red Sox 7, Tigers 3: Buchholz (9-3) hurled another gem, and this time got enough run support to earn the win, his first since June 19. Crawford had his second walk and his second extra-base hit this season, and got the rallies going as the Sox overcame nine Scherzer (10-6) strikeouts, got homers from Middlebrooks and Pedroia, and have put together a three-game win streak for the first time since mid-June.
Stay tuned for postgame notes and posts. Thanks for reading, folks. Goodnight.
Top 9th: Red Sox 7, Tigers 3: Padilla put Young (walk) and Boesch (single) on to start the inning, but got Peralta to ground into a double play. With the crowd on its feet, Padilla struck out Avila on a fastball to end the game.
Bottom 8th: Red Sox 7, Tigers 3: No golden sombrero for Middlebrooks, who hooked a rocket down the left-field line into the Monster seats to give the Sox a little cushion.
Salty singled, Sweeney got robbed of a single by a diving Infante (and threw his helmet in the dugout in frustration), Octavio Dotel came on in relief, Shoppach flied out to left, and Ciriaco did the same.
Looks like Padilla will come in to close this one out.
The line for Buchholz: 8.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 108 pitches, 67 strikes.
Top 8th: Red Sox 5, Tigers 3: Buchholz is likely done, but he got through the heart of Detroit's order in perfect fashion. Berry flied out to center, Cabrera grounded to short, and Fielder grounded to first. Strong outing for him, allowing just three hits after the first inning.
Bottom 7th: Red Sox 5, Tigers 3: Please note: the following is NOT fiction: Kelly Shoppach hit a triple.
It was his second of the season -- he hit one on May 7 at Kansas City -- and second of his career. He is now somehow tied for the Sox lead in three-baggers with Sweeney, Pedroia, and Ciriaco.
But we digress. Ciriaco lined out to left. With the infield in, Ellsbury ripped an RBI single to right, chasing Scherzer from the game. Coke came on to face Crawford, and won the lefty-on-lefty matchup with a grounder to second.
Ellsbury stole his second base of the season, swiping third on a no-throw, but Pedroia grounded out to short to end the inning.
Scherzer's line: 6.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 101 pitches, 69 strikes.
Top 7th: Red Sox 4, Tigers 3: Buchholz struck out Boesch on a filthy changeup to lead off the inning, but the pitch got by Shoppach, who hit the runner on his way to first for the error. After Peralta went down swinging, Avila laced a run-scoring double to right-center, but got stranded at second. Infante popped up to Pedroia, and Jackson lined out to right.
Time to stretch.
Bottom 6th: Red Sox 4, Tigers 2: Pedroia hammered a 1-2 fastball into the Monster seats for his ninth homer after Crawford coaxed a full-count walk. Gonzalez singled into the right-center gap, but Middlebrooks earned the sombrero, striking out for the third time tonight.
Scherzer then ratcheted up his fastball to 97 to get Salty swinging, and got Sweeney swinging on a slider in the dirt. Sweeney didn't realize the ball got by Avila, and was barely thrown out at first. Sparse boos for Sweeney after that one.
Top 6th: Red Sox 2, Tigers 2: Cabrera laced a lineout right at Middlebrooks, Fielder grounded out to second, and Young flied out to center. Buchholz has retired 10 straight now.
Bottom 5th: Red Sox 2, Tigers 2: Scherzer entered overpower mode against the bottom of Boston's order, striking out Shoppach and Ciriaco, each on 96-mph fastballs. Ellsbury grounded out to second to end things.
Top 5th: Red Sox 2, Tigers 2: That's seven straight retired for Buchholz, who got Infante to fly out to deep center, Jackson to line out to Crawford, and Berry to strike out looking on a 95-mph heater.
Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, Tigers 2: Solid inning for Scherzer. Only Salty reached on a seeing-eye single through the hole between first and second. Otherwise, Gonzalez grounded out, Middlebrooks struck out for the second time tonight, and Sweeney skied a popout to third.
Top 4th: Red Sox 2, Tigers 2: Buchholz mixed his pitches well that inning, getting Boesch, Peralta, and Avila in order, all on grounders.
Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 2, Tigers 2: Ciriaco continues to rake, ripping a leadoff single down the third-base line, but got thrown out at second on Ellsbury's fielder's choice. Crawford grounded out, moving Ellsbury into scoring position, but Pedroia popped out weakly to short.
Top 3rd: Red Sox 2, Tigers 2: Infante atoned for his error, lifting a high triple off the Monster in deep left-center. Jackson worked a full-count walk and, after Berry broke his bat and popped out to Ciriaco, Buchholz got the groundball he needed against Cabrera. But it went straight up the middle, and Infante scored, tying things up.
Buchholz then walked the bases loaded, drawing action in the bullpen and a visit from Bob McClure, and got an inning-ending double play from Young.
And after all that, the game is still tied.
Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 2, Tigers 1: Salty broke his bat, but reached on an error by Infante, one of Detroit's newest acquisitions. He promptly got thrown out at second, probably on a missed hit-and-run sign by Sweeney, who lined out to right. Shoppach then struck out looking on a slider.
Top 2nd: Red Sox 2, Tigers 1: A flyout to left, two grounders to Pedroia, and Buchholz is through a perfect, tidy second inning with six pitches.
Bottom 1st: Red Sox 2, Tigers 1: Before the game, manager Bobby Valentine addressed the lack of stolen bases by Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford (three total this season entering), saying he felt they had yet to regain their "rhythm." Turns out, it didn't really matter in the first, not with Ellsbury drawing a tough nine-pitch walk and Crawford tripling off the Monster.
Pedroia had an RBI groundout to short that plated Crawford, and Scherzer dialed up a fastball to 98 miles per hour to strike out Gonzalez. Middlebrooks went down looking at another fastball to end the inning.
Top 1st: Tigers 1, Red Sox 0: Rough start for Buchholz. Jackson parked his fourth leadoff homer this season, and first since July 15 at Baltimore, on a 1-0 pitch that ended atop the Monster. Berry followed with a double to the wall. Cabrera rocketed a shot up the middle that an off-balance Buchholz snagged. Buchholz settled down, striking out Fielder on a splitter, but Berry moved up to third when the ball got by Shoppach. Young grounded out to short to end the inning.
So, a couple hard-hit balls against Buchholz, but only Jackson's round-tripper is on the board for the Tigers.
Pregame: The Sox have won three games against the Yankees this season, including two over the weekend. In all three, Pedro Ciriaco had the game-winning hit. So now the Sox return to Fenway, fresh off a 3-3 road trip, including those two thrilling late-inning victories over the Bronx Bombers.
Max Scherzer (10-5, 4.49 ERA) takes the mound for Detroit as the AL leader with 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings, and has won nine of his past 11 decisions. The Sox counter with Clay Buchholz (8-3, 4.93 ERA), 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA over his past eight starts since May 27.
The updates will be here, as always. You bring your comments, as always. And everyone's happy.