Game over: Tigers 3, Red Sox 2: Peralta (3 for 3 with a walk) singled with one out off Melancon. Avila then singled to left. Melancon was yanked in favor of new closer Alfredo Aceves. Facing Santiago, Aceves hit him in the back foot with a curveball to load the bases. Jackson then singled down the line at third to win it.
Opening Day walk off for the Tigers. Devastation for the Sox.
Middle of the 9th: Red Sox 2, Tigers 2: Pedroia doubled and took second on a single by Gonzalez.
Ortiz flied to center to score Pedroia with the first run of the season for the Sox. Youkilis struck out. With Sweeney up, pinch runner Darnell McDonald stole second. Sweeney was next and he ripped a triple to right field to tie the game.
Valverde was 49 for 49 in save chances last season. Now he’s 0 for 1.
Ross lined to short to end the inning. Mark Melancon coming in to pitch.
Top of the 9th: Tigers 2, Red Sox 1: Padilla started the inning by allowing a triple by Jackson to right. Sweeney got turned around on the ball, which went to the wall. With the infield in, Boesch grounded to short and Jackson had to hold. Cabrera was intentionally walked.
In came Franklin Morales to face Fielder. He hit a shallow fly ball to center. Ellsbury broke in and set up for the throw and it hit the mound. Just an awful throw. Jackson tagged up and scored.
Now Jose Valverde is in to try and close it for the Tigers.
Middle of the 8th: Tigers 1, Red Sox 0: Verlander set down the Sox in order and walked off the mound to chants of “MVP!, MVP!” from the sellout crowd of 45,027.
Vicente Padilla replaced Lester on the mound.
Top of the 8th: Tigers 1, Red Sox 0: Lester cracked first. With two outs, Peralta doubled down the line in left. Lester went up 1-2 on Avila. But the Detroit catcher came back to work the count full and drive a ball into the corner in left that Ross couldn’t catch up to. Lester then struck out Santiago to end the inning.
Lester is at 107 pitches and is surely done for the day. Verlander is back for more.
Middle of the 7th: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: Verlander motored on. He struck out Youkilis and Sweeney, both looking at curveballs. Ross then popped to left.
Verlander now at 95 pitches and there is action in the Tigers bullpen. Meanwhile Vicente Padilla is warming up for the Sox.
Top of the 7th: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: The duel continues. Boesch lined to short. Cabrera walked and then fielder grounded to shortstop and Aviles started a double play by stepping on second and throwing to first.
Verlander has thrown 83 pitches and Lester 87. What a terrific game. This is could decided by one swing.
Middle of the 6th: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: The Red Sox tried to mount a rally with two outs. Pedroia reached on a single by Cabrera at third base as he side-saddled a hot grounder and let it get past him. Gonzalez then walked. Ortiz fouled off two two-strike pitches before striking out on another nasty curveball. You have to sit fastball because Verlander can dial it up. Then when he drops that curve, you’re helpless.
Top of the 6th: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: The Tigers had not advanced a runner into scoring position until tRaburn led off with a single to left and walked on five pitches. Avila tried to bunt the first two pitches and missed. He then struck out swinging. Lester got ahead of Santiago and got him to pop to second. Jackson, up 3-0 in the count, popped to right on a 3-2 cutter. Lester is piling up the pitches (he’s at 76), but he’s matching Verlander.
Middle of the 5th: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: Verlander had retired 10 in a row before Sweeney singled to center with one out. Ross then chased Boesch back to the wall in right with a deep fly ball. Salty ended the inning with a grounder to first.
Top of the 5th: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: Now this is pitching. Boesch grounded to first. Lester than walked Cabrera on four pitches as he got annoyed with a pitch Dale Scott missed and got wild. He came back and fanned Prince looking at a fastball on the outside corner. Young then popped out in foul ground to Gonzo.
Four innings and we’ve had five base-runners in this game.
Middle of the 4th: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: Verlander has now retired nine straight. He got Pedroia to foul out to right, struck out Gonzo looking at a nasty curve on the outside corner and then got Ortiz on a fly ball to center.
Two aces are dealing today. Fun to watch.
Top of the 4th: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: That was a grind-it-out inning for Lester. Peralta led off with a single. Avila lined to right, Santiago flied to left and Jackson flied to center to end the inning. But it took Lester 18 pitches to get those three outs.
Lester also bounced a pickoff throw to first that Gonzalez came off the bag to grab. He has the yips throwing to first depsite them working on it in spring training. Teams will take advantage of that if he doesn’t fix it.
Middle of the 3rd: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: Verlander is just that good. He struck out Salty and Aviles and got Ellsbury to tap to first base. But the Sox have made him work a little bit. He has thrown 43 pitches in three innings.
Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0 Second verse, same at the first for Lester. Fielder singled in his Tigers debut to the delight of the crowd. But Young bounced the second pitch he saw to shortstop for a room service double play. Raburn then whiffed on a cutter.
Lester has thrown 18 pitches, 11 strikes. He looks sharp.
Middle of the 2nd: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: Ortiz went the other way with a low inside fastball and bounced it off the fence in left for a double. Youkilis grounded to short, failing to advance the runner. Sweeney then grounded to second, pushing Papi to third. Ross was left and he worked the count to 3-2, fouled off a 98-mph high fastball and then struck out looking at a terrific curveball. There’s the brilliance of Verlander. He can come with high heat and then throw a bender for a strike.
Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: Lester’s first pitch, a 91-mph fastball well off the plate, was lined into center field by Jackson. His second pitch was grounded to third by Boesch for a double play. Cabrera then broke his bat on a 1-1 cutter and lined to third. Tidy five-pitch inning for Lester.
Middle of the 1st: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: Great start for Verlander, wo got three pop-ups on nine pitches. Ellsbury popped to left, Pedroia to second and Gonzalez to left.
Top of the 1st: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: It’s the guy who won the MVP (Verlander) against the guy who came in second (Ellsbury). Kind of a neat moment. Ellsbury took a strike at 1:10 p.m. and it’s 43 degrees.
Welcome to baseball season.
Pre-game: Good afternoon from Comerica Park and Detroit, where the Red Sox will be facing the Tigers.
It’ll be Jon Lester against Justin Verlander as the Red Sox start a new era with Bobby Valentine as their manager.
The introductions are underway here at the park as the Red Sox staffers, coaches and players gather on the first base line.
Hang out here for updates and please feel free to leave your comments.