The Tigers hadn’t swept the Red Sox at Fenway since way back in 1983 when they took four straight but they completed the three-game sweet tonight with a decisive 6-2 win over the free-falling Sons of John Farrell. It’s the Red Sox first four game losing streak since the 2012 season.
The story for the Red Sox has been their inability to push runs across, and that continued tonight at Fenway as the Sox managed to score single runs in the second and fifth innings but that was all the offense they could muster as Detroit mashed the ball off Red Sox pitching all night en route to the victory.
“I don’t know that we ever go in looking for streaks of losses,” Red Sox manager John Farrell after the sweep at the hands of the Tigers. “We follow our preparation and our competitiveness and that’s the way things turned out for quite a long time. We’ve got to regroup, we’ve got to be better in all phases."
Tigers big boppers at the top of the order — Ian Kinsler, Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martinez — did most of the damage on offense for Detroit, who hit Red Sox starter Jake Peavy hard right out of the gate. The top three hitters for Detroit went 9-for-14 on the night. Detroit banged out 15 hits on the night.
Peavy lasted six innings, giving up 11 hits and five earned runs, striking out two without issuing a walk.
“I think everybody in this room and on our staff will tell you we’ve got to get better on all sides of the ball -- pitching, playing better defense, and obviously swing the bats a bit better,” Peavy said after picking up the loss on Sunday. “Everybody has room for improvement and nobody’s pointing fingers. As a whole, we’re going to take responsibility for not playing our best, man-to-man.”
The Red Sox got on the scoreboard first killing the Tigers with some light hitting in the bottom of the second. Grady Sizemore led it off with a soft line single, moved to second on a 1-3 groundout by A.J. Pierzynski. Xander Bogaerts drove in Sizemore with a single to right.
The Tigers got a run back in the top of the third. Cabrera bounced a single just over the head of Red Sox third baseman Brock Holt into left field, scoring Kinsler who belted a hard double to left two batters earlier. Old friend Victor Martinez next hit a 1-2 change up that hung over the plate for a two-run homer to right field, scoring Cabrera. Peavy had V-Mart in the hole, 0-2, but could not finish him off. Martinez now has 10 home runs and nine strikeouts on the season.
Tigers stafter Anibal Sanchez came off the disabled list (blister on throwing hand) before tonight’s game, making his first start since April 26 against the Twins. He would last five innings, throwing 80 pitches in his first outing since the DL, giving up just one earned run.
Kinsler — who singled sharply to start the inning — scored the Tigers fourth run on a Cabrera sac fly to Shane Victorino in the top of the fifth. A frustrated Peavy slammed his Red Sox cap to the ground when Hunter singled up the middle. A nifty 3-1 double play got the Red Sox out of it when V-Mart grounded to Mike Napoli who tagged Hunter and threw out Martinez for two.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Red Sox had runners at first and third after Pedroia and Victorino hit back to back singles. With David Ortiz at the plate, Victorino stole his second base of the season to move into scoring position. Ortiz was then intentionally walked to load them up. Mike Napoli then hit a high chopper to third and Pedroia scored the Red Sox second run (unearned) on a throwing error by Tigers third baseman Don Kelly. The inning ended on a double play as Sizemore lined back to Sanchez and Victorino was doubled up at third.
In the top of the sixth, Tigers catcher Alex Avila drove in Austin Jackson with a base hit to put the Tigers are up 5-2.
The Red Sox threatened in the bottom of the sixth. Bogaerts singled with one out followed by Brock Holt who grounded into a force at second. Brock advanced to third when he tried to steal second and Avila threw it into center field. But pinch hitter Jonny Gomes struck out swinging to end it.
Hunter smoked his fifth homer of the season onto the parking garage roof across Lansdowne St. on the first pitch he saw from Junichi Tazawa in the seventh inning making the score 6-2.
The defensive play of the day was a 2-5 putout in the top of the seventh when Pierzynski tipped a foul pop off the bat of Victor Martinez from his glove into the glove of Holt who was also chasing the ball near the third base seats.
In the bottom of the seventh, it looked like Pedroia grounded out to start things off but the umps ruled the ball hit the plate before bouncing to the mound and it was ruled a foul ball. There were multiple reports that Tigers manager Brad Ausmus wanted to protest the game after he learned the play could not be challenged.
The Tigers loaded the bases in the top of the ninth, but Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow got Austin Jackson looking to end the threat.