BOSTON – (Staff Report) – Boston knuckleballer Steven Wright (2-0) walked two of the first three Detroit Tigers batters and let up a Nicholas Castellanos double in between, but a perfect relay from LF Andrew Benintendi to SS Xander Bogaerts to catcher Christian Vazquez cut down lead-off hitter Leonys Martin at the plate to keep the Tigers scoreless. That’s all it took for a 6-0 Red Sox shutout victory over the Tigers before 34,762 fans on a rainy, eerie night at Fenway Park.
The early defensive play was exactly what Wright needed to settle down and throw seven innings of two-hit baseball, his scoreless outing the result of 96 pitches and 57 strikes before he gave way to reliever Hector Velazquez in the 8th inning. On the night, Wright allowed only two other runners and faced the minimum from the 4th through the 7th inning, gaining full control of his knuckler and baffling all nine Detroit batters. It had been more than a year since Wright’s last start.
Boston SP Steven Wright on an eerie night at Fenway Park
Backing up Wright’s effort and continuing their winning ways (four straight) at Fenway Park, the Red Sox scored twice in the 1st inning when designated hitter J.D.Martinez hit a two-run homer against his former team. It marked his 20th HR of the season, one ahead of the Angels’ Mike Trout (19) for the MLB and AL lead.
Leading off the 5th inning, Boston SS Xander Bogaerts hit the first pitch from Warwick Saupold into the home bullpen to make the score 5-0, Boston. It was Bogaerts’ ninth HR of the season. The Sox continued a mini-barrage against Saupold with three more hits but scored only one additional run when Brock Holt hit a ground ball RBI to score Martinez from third base. Saupold escaped the inning when Boston catcher Christian Vazquez grounded into a double-play.
Boston put up a pair of runs in each of the 1st, 4th and 5th innings to secure the victory, their MLB-leading 42nd of the season and have won six of their last eight and 14 of their last 19 games. This is the third time in the club’s 118-year history they have won at least 42 of their first 61 games, having also done so in 1946 (43-17) and 1978 (42-19).
Tonight’s loss made for the Tigers’ eighth shutout loss of the season.
GAME NOTES: In the 4th inning of tonight’s game, Detroit 3B Jeimer Candelario jammed the middle finger on his right hand and was removed. The x-rays on that hand were negative and he is considered day-to-day. … Prior to the evening game at Fenway, the Red Sox placed left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz on the 10-day DL (retroactive to June 2) with left biceps tendinitis. To fill Pomeranz’s spot on the 25-man roster, the club recalled right-handed pitcher Brandon Workman from Triple-A Pawtucket. Workman saw an inning of work tonight, finishing out the game in a non-save situation. … In Game 2 of the three-game series on Wednesday, the Red Sox are scheduled to throw LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (6-1, 3.88 ERA) against Detroit’s LHP Blaine Hardy (2-0, 2.77 ERA). With Pomeranz the scheduled starter for Thursday, the Red Sox might turn to AAA-Pawsox SP Jalen Beeks for a spot-start against Detroit LHP Matthew Boyd (3-4, 3.23 ERA) in the series finale.