Final: Red Sox 4, Tigers 1 The Red Sox extended their winning streak to four games when the game was called after a rain delay of 1 hour 45 minutes.
The game ended after the Tigers loaded the bases with two out in the top of the sixth when Jhonny Peralta drew a walk from Franklin Morales. However, Omar Infante never got to take his at-bat after crew chief Jerry Layne halted play at 9:32 p.m.
“You got the bases loaded and you’re a little bit excited because you got a shot, but the umpires do the best they can with that stuff,” said Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who was remarkably poised about the decision to call the game. “We had been playing in some pretty heavy rain and I think Jerry just decided at that point he needed to stop it and he gave it a good shot to try to get it in, but from what I hear it wasn’t supposed to stop raining around 1 or 1:30.
“So certainly to call the game at this point was the right call. Could we have maybe gotten through that inning? Who knows? That’s a tough situation to put an umpire in but I think they definitely made the right call in calling it. So be it.”
Rain delay: Top of 6th, 2 out: Red Sox 4, Tigers 1: After he issued a lead-off walk to Fielder and then got Delmon Young to fly to center, Mortensen handed it over to Franklin Morales with one out in the sixth.
Morales got a force out at second on Fielder after pinch-hitter Ryan Rayburn grounded to third. Rayburn went to third on Alex Avila’s single to right. With the rain intensifying, Morales walked Jhonny Peralta to load the bases, prompting umpire Angel Campos to halt play at 9:32 p.m. because of rain.
Bottom of 5th: Red Sox 4, Tigers 1: Verlander retired the side in order, striking out Ross and Saltalamacchia after getting Gonzalez to ground to second. Through five innings, Verlander has allowed 4 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks while striking out 6 batters. He’s thrown 107 pitches, which was 20 shy of his season high (127, at Cincinnati June 9).
Top of 5th: Red Sox 4, Tigers 1: Mortensen entered the game in the the third facing a most dire situation: bases loaded, Prince Fielder at the plate, Sox trailing 1-0. But he continued to hold it down for the Sox. After giving up a lead-off single to Jackson, who was caught stealing second by Shoppach (ninth pickoff of the season), Mortensen struck out Berry and then got the always dangerous Cabrera to ground to short. Nice, tidy, end of inning.
Bottom of 4th: Red Sox 4, Tigers 1: The Sox put two runners aboard against Verlander when Ross hit a lead-off single to right and Saltalamacchia followed with a single to left.
Verlander dialed up 98-m.p.h heat to strike out Middlebrooks before issuing a walk to Kelly Shoppach that loaded the bases for Pedro Ciriaco, who tied it, 1-1, with a sharply-struck RBI single to right that scored Ross. Ellsbury drew another walk, Verlander’s second of the inning and fourth of the game, to score Saltalamacchia with the go-ahead run, 2-1.
It left the bases (still) loaded for Crawford, who hit an RBI base hit to second, scoring Shoppach from third. Infante committed a costly error when he tried to barehand the ball, but misplayed it, allowing Ciriaco to score, making it 4-1. Verlander got out of the inning after facing eight batters when he got Pedroia to ground into a 4-6-3 double play.
Update: 8:53 p.m. The Red Sox announced Josh Beckett had departed the game in the third with a back spasm.
Top of 4th: Tigers 1, Red Sox 0: Mortensen seemed to get into trouble when he issued a pair of one out walks to Brennan Boesch and Alex Avila. But the right-handed reliever got out of the jam when he got Jhonny Peralta to fly to right and Infante to ground to the mound.
Bottom of 3d: Tigers 1, Red Sox 0: Sox could not muster a response against Verlander, going down in 1-2-3 fashion. Through three innings, Verlander has now thrown 63 pitches (40 for strikes), but you get the feeling that he’s just getting warmed up, despite throwing in a steady mist.
Top of 3d, 2 outs: Tigers 1, Red Sox 0: Pitching in steady but light rainfall, Beckett retired the first two batters he faced in the third, Omar Infante broke up Beckett’s no-hit bid by beating out a ground ball to short for an infield hit.
Beckett grazed the next batter, Austin Jackson, on the abdomen with a 91 four-seam fastball, then walked Quintin Berry to load the bases for Miguel Cabrera, who drew a walk that scored Infante and gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead. It prompted a mound visit from manager Bobby Valentine, pitching coach Bob McClure and the team’s medical staff to check on Beckett’s back, which appeared to stiffen.
Beckett departed to a chorus of boos as Clayton Mortensen, who was called up from Triple A Pawtucket earlier in the day, was summoned from the bullpen to face Prince Fielder with the bases loaded. Mortensen dodged a bullet when Fielder hit a mammoth blast to right just foul of the Pesky Pole. Fielder left the bases loaded when he flew to center to end the inning.
Beckett’s line: 2.2 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP, 49 pitches (27 strikes).
Bottom of 2d: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: The Sox got another lead-off hit against Verlander, this one by Will Middlebrooks, who reached on a sharply-struck ground ball single to left. Verlander struck out Kelly Shoppach (looking, 84 slider) and got Pedro Ciriaco to line out to short before inducing Ellsbury to ground to second for the force on Middlebrooks at second.
Top of 2d: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: Another 1-2-3 inning for Beckett, who needed only seven pitches to do the trick. Through two innings of work, Beckett has thrown 19 pitches, 13 for strikes.
Bottom of 1st: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: After Jacoby Ellsbury reached on a single to shallow left, Detroit ace Justin Verlander, the American League’s reigning Most Valuable player and Cy Young Award winner, buckled down and retired the two batters he faced, getting Carl Crawford to ground to first and Dustin Pedroia looking at a 97-m.p.h. fastball.
Verlander, however, ran into some trouble with two outs when he issued back-to-back walks to Adrian Gonzalez and Cody Ross to load the bases for DH Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who struck out swinging at a 96-m.p.h. fastball.
It was a laborious start for Verlander, who threw 35 pitches (20 for strikes), which was 23 more than Beckett needed to get out of his first inning.
Top of 1st: Red Sox 0, Tigers 0: Nice start for Josh Beckett, who retired the Tigers in 1-2-3 fashion on 12 pitches. Beckett struck out lead-off hitter Austin Jackson, who hit a lead-off homer off Clay Buchholz Monday night. Beckett caught Jackson looking at a 91-mile-per-hour fastball, then got Quintin Berry to fly to left and Miguel Cabrera to hit a towering fly to center.
Pregame: Greeting from an overcast Fenway Park where the non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone and so has Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik, both of whom were dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks for LHP Craig Breslow. The team also acquired RHP Steven Wright from the Indians in exchange for 1B/DH Lars Anderson. Wright was assigned to Double A Portland. The Red Sox (52-51) will send Josh Beckett (5-9, 4.57 ERA) to the mound to oppose Justin Verlander (11-6, 2.60 ERA) in the hopes of extending the team’s three-game winning streak.
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