Offensive futility has been the name of the game for the Red Sox this season. All year long, the team has simply struggled to drive in runs and that affliction held true in tonight’s game against the Tigers. Having lost three straight and facing a sweep at the hands of the Tigers, this game was as much a must-win as any game in May; however, they simply couldn’t get the job done either offensively or on the mound.
The Red Sox had their best chance of the night in the fifth inning. Down 4-1 at the time, back-to-back singles by Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino put runners at the corners with one out. Even with David Ortiz at the plate, John Farrell decided to shake it up and sent Victorino from first. Victorino successfully stole second base and, with two runners in scoring position and one out, the Tigers opted to intentionally walk Big Papi. With the bases loaded and just one out, Mike Napoli sent a little dribbler down the third base line an third baseman Don Kelly curiously decided to throw home, but the throw was wild, and Pedroia scored to cut the lead to two runs. However, as has happened so often this year, the Red Sox were unable to capitalize further as Grady Sizemore lined into an inning-ending double play.
Jake Peavy had gotten the start for the Red Sox and, while he didn’t walk a batter in the game (a welcome change for Peavy, who has struggled with control this season), the Tigers hit him hard. Peavy had skated over thin ice in the first and second innings, but the solid contact he had been allowing finally caught up to him in the third inning. An RBI bloop single by Miguel Cabrera netted the Tigers their first run of the game, tying the game at 1-1, before a two-run homer by Victor Martinez put the Tigers out in front with a 3-1 lead.
The Tigers did not have any more big innings, but they kept tacking on runs nearly every inning. Detroit added single runs in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings on a Miguel Cabrera sacrifice fly, an Alex Avila single, and a Torii Hunter home run respectively.
Meanwhile, Tigers’ starter Anibal Sanchez, in his first start since coming off of the disabled list, shut down the Red Sox. Aside from that work of brinkmanship in the fifth, Sanchez had allowed a run in the second inning on an RBI single by Xander Bogaerts. However, he turned in a very solid outing for the Tigers, allowing just the two runs (one earned) on five hits in five innings.
After the seventh inning, however, neither team was able to do much offensively. A combination of Red Sox relievers including Andrew Miller, Burke Badenhop, and Craig Breslow were able to hold the Tigers scoreless in the eighth and ninth (though it wasn’t easy) and Tigers’ relievers Al Alburquerque, Ian Krol, and Joba Chamberlain held the Red Sox without any additional runs. The Red Sox will stay in town and face the Blue Jays on Tuesday, looking the right the ship.