Where: Comerica Park, Detroit
DETROIT — After a couple rough days on their first road trip of the 2017 season, the battered Boston Red Sox did some bruising of their own. Boston fought back for four runs in the eighth inning Sunday, two scoring on a tie-breaking single to center by Sandy Leon to help the Red Sox to a 7-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers that stopped a two-game losing streak.
” I couldn’t be more proud of the way we once again came back,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “We tie it up. We give it right back. We come back and answer once again. We’re able to mount a sizeable inning late in the ball game.”
Lefty Robbie Ross Jr. is on the 10-day disabled list, Matt Barnes just came off the bereavement list and Xander Bogaerts is doing likewise for Monday’s game, Joe Kelly is battling the flu, as is Andrew Benintendi while Mookie Betts returned to the lineup from Boston where he was battling the flu. Hanley Ramirez remains in Boston, recuperating from the flu.
“Hey, we’re going up against a bunch of things that are going around our clubhouse right now,” Farrell said. “But the one thing that hasn’t emerged was anybody talking about any excuses.
“We know what’s in front of us, we know how people feel. We have a number of guys that aren’t 100 percent, but there’s a lot of fight in this group.”
Nick Castellanos had given Detroit a brief 4-3 lead when he led off the seventh with his second home run of the season, but the Tigers’ erratic bullpen couldn’t hold the lead.
Bruce Rondon (0-1, 40.50 ERA) gave up a walk and a single to begin the eighth, with both runners advancing on left fielder Justin Upton’s throwing error. Mitch Moreland was walked intentionally and reliever Kyle Ryan walked in the tying run.
Leon lined a two-run single to center to make it 6-4 and the seventh Red Sox run scored on a double play grounder.
“Certainly what he did last year, that’s not a fluke,” Farrell said of his catcher. “That’s a large number of at-bats last year that he was very productive. To see what he’s doing from both sides of the plate is very encouraging.”
“Well, we couldn’t hold them late,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. “The starting pitcher did a nice job, we had a lead late, and we couldn’t hold them.
“We’ve just gotta find someone that can pitch the seventh and eighth inning. Justin Wilson was unavailable; he’d be a guy you could pitch in the eighth inning, but he’d pitched two days in a row, and we didn’t want to use him. (Shane) Greene was down as well.
We’ve got seven guys down there, and we’ve got to use all of them, and at times they’re going to have to perform in situations they’re not used to performing in.
“I was able to use (Anibal) Sanchez, but he couldn’t have gone far, because he threw 68 pitches a few days ago.”
Barnes (1-0) got the win by allowing one hit in two innings. Craig Kimbrel earned his second save but not before giving up a run on two walks plus an RBI single to right by Victor Martinez in his inning of work.
“Again, we saw it the other day, and we saw it again,” Ausmus said. “There’s no die in this team. We’re facing Kimbrel in the ninth inning, and I’m sure Red Sox fans were getting a little tense.
“Kimbrel’s a high-powered closer, and these guys had good at-bats against him. They didn’t let down, just because we were down three runs.”
Starter Rick Porcello allowed 11 hits and four runs (one unearned) in six-plus innings for Boston but struck out eight and walked only one.
Lefty Daniel Norris went 6 1/3 innings for the Tigers, allowing three runs on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
Rookie Andrew Benintendi sliced an RBI single to left with two out in the seventh off reliever Alex Wilson to tie the score, 3-3. Runner Marco Hernandez had seemed to be out on an inning-ending double play hit by Dustin Pedroia but Farrell challenged and review revealed Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler was guilty of taking his foot off the bag before taking and relaying the throw from shortstop Jose Iglesias.
The Tigers took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on a double by Andrew Romine plus Kinsler’s second RBI-single of the game, which came with one out.
Boston had tied it, 2-2, in the third on a two-out walk plus an RBI-double by Moreland in the third. Detroit had gone ahead 2-1 in the second on Kinsler’s soft two-out RBI single to center, which allowed Romine to score from third with an unearned run.
The Red Sox squared the score, 1-1, in the second on a two-out line RBI single to left by Hernandez. The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the first on Upton’s two-out RBI single up the middle, which came following one-out singles by Castellanos and Miguel Cabrera.
NOTES: Boston optioned RHP Noe Ramirez to Triple-A Pawtucket before activating RHP Matt Barnes from the bereavement list before the game. … 1B Miguel Cabrera singled to right in the first inning for his first hit of the season. Cabrera was 0-for-12 in his first four games, longest he has ever gone hitless at the start of a season. … CF Jackie Bradley Jr., who hurt his right knee rounding first in the ninth inning Saturday, was held out of the Red Sox starting lineup and will return to Boston on Monday for further examination. He was moving well and hopes to avoid the disabled list. … The Detroit bullpen ERA expanded to 8.47 by allowing four runs in 2 2/3 innings.