Final, Tigers win 10-3: A night after giving up 10 runs in a hard-luck loss, the Tigers turned around and put up a 10-spot of their own on Saturday. The difference, in this case, was that Max Scherzer did not need all the run support like Jon Lester did.
Scherzer improved his major league-best record to 11-0 with seven innings two-run, six-hit, six-strikeout ball. His counterpart on the Red Sox, Allen Webster, fell to 0-2 in his third career big league start.
Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter and Andy Dirks each posted three-hit nights for the Tigers, while Victor Martinez put together a five-RBI, three-run night. Martinez got a big lift from his first-inning grand slam, of course, which gave the Tigers all the scoring they would need.
The Red Sox made things mildly interesting in the ninth, with David Ortiz singling to right field to lead off. Although Ortiz was wiped out at second on a fielder’s choice grounder by Mike Carp, the Red Sox did push across a run after singles by Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. With two on and one out, Stephen Drew bounced into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
The Red Sox have one more matchup left in this four-game set in Detroit. They await the 1:08 p.m. scheduled first pitch for the finale on Sunday.
End 8th, Tigers 10-2: Put a star next to Nava’s catch to end the eight inning — which prevented the Tigers from extending their lead to nine runs.
Hey, small victories.
Nava’s basket catch stranded Hunter on third base, where he stood after Fielder grounded into a run-scoring double play. All in all, holding the Tigers to just one run was an accomplishment for Wilson, who gave up singles to Jackson and Hunter and walked Cabrera to load the bags with none out.
Luke Putkonen will try to close this thing out for the Tigers. It is not exactly a pressure-packed appearance for the right-hander.
Mid 8th, Tigers 9-2: Funny game, this baseball thing.
Drew and Iglesias held up their end of the bargain, reaching on a walk and a single, respectively, to turn over the lineup. But Ellsbury flied out to left, Victorino went down swinging and Pedroia drove a deep out to center field to bring the Red Sox’ half of the frame to an anticlimatic end.
End 7th, Tigers 9-2: Scherzer is sitting pretty now. Even though Scherzer’s night is over, with Alburquerque taking the bump, Infante’s insurance homer put the Detroit righty that much closer to an 11-0 record. It goes without saying that’s the best in the majors.
The Red Sox have a lot of work to do if they want to make Scherzer and the Tigers sweat, and it would be big to do it in the upcoming inning. Drew and Iglesias, who are 1-for-4 combined in the game so far, are the first two batters due up in the eighth.
Bottom 7th, Tigers 9-2: Infante entered the seventh inning as the only Tiger not to reach base. Not anymore.
Infante’s two-out, two-run shot extended the Tigers’ lead to a healthy seven runs, just when Morales seemed to be finding his groove. Although Morales walked Martinez to begin the half-inning, he got Peralta and Dirks swinging and was primed to get out of the frame unscathed. Then Infante happened.
Alex Wilson will replace Morales for Boston.
Mid 7th, Tigers 7-2: It looks like that might be it for Scherzer, and what a night it was. The veteran righty struck out Saltalamacchia looking to end the top of the seventh inning, setting the Red Sox down in order and giving Scherzer six K’s.
Al Alburquerque is warming in the bullpen and appears to be ready to come in for Detroit. If the Tigers’ ‘pen does its job, Scherzer is well on his way to his major league-leading 11th win.
End 6th, Tigers 7-2: Morales managed to get through the sixth with much less fanfare than the fifth. He rang up Jackson and Hunter, then made Fielder line out to left field with Cabrera on first.
Cabrera and Victorino shared sort of a funny moment when Cabrera smacked his two-out single into right field. Victorino, playing shallow, raced in and flung the ball to first base off the hop to try to get Cabrera. Even though Cabrera beat the throw, his momentum carried him up the line right past Victorino, where the two smiled while exchanging words.
Mid 6th, Tigers 7-2: Ellsbury tried to get things going with a leadoff single, and he was still there when Ortiz gave one a ride to deep center field with two outs. But Ortiz’s shot ran out of gas, just like the Red Sox’ scoring chance in that inning, and Scherzer eases his way through another inning.
End 5th, Tigers 7-2: Aaaaaand now the wheels are starting to loosen up a little bit. They’re not quite coming off yet, however.
Morales did not have much more success than Webster. He walked Fielder, the first batter he faced, to surrender the lefty-lefty matchup. Fielder promptly came around to score on a double by the switch-hitting Martinez, and Peralta followed with his own double to plate V-Mart.
When Dirks singled and pushed Peralta to second, the Comerica Park crowd smelled blood. But Infante and Pena followed with back-to-back flyouts to right to end the threat.
Bottom 5th, Tigers 5-2: Say this for Webster: He got Cabrera out two out of the three times he faced him.
Webster is out after inducing a groundout to short from Cabrera to begin the bottom of the fifth, but that apparently was enough for the young right-hander. Southpaw Franklin Morales will relieve against left-swinging Fielder.
Mid 5th, Tigers 5-2: Sorry, Iglesias, but get ready to appear on blooper reels for a while.
Scherzer, who is absolutely dealing and showing why he is 10-0, took care of Saltalamacchia and Drew easily before Iglesias snuck a pop-up inside the right field line. But while trying to stretch the single to a double, Iglesias slid safely into second — and then past second, where he was tagged out.
End 4th, Tigers 5-2: Webster is known (as much as he is actually “known”) for that 94-mph heater, but he has made the Tigers look silly with his 85-mph changeup. That pitch kept them off-balance again in the bottom of the fourth, and Webster responded to a single by Dirks by retiring the next two Tigers.
Just when it looked like the change was going to get him out of trouble, Jackson delivered a solid single to center to score Dirks, who had stolen second the previous at-bat. Hunter then clocked a fastball, but it was right at Iglesias to get the Sox out of the inning.
The Tigers have their insurance run, and Webster should have his lesson now: Stay with the change as much as possible.
Mid 4th, Tigers 4-2: As long as he doesn’t have to field for himself, Scherzer is coasting. He retired Pedroia without much trouble to lead off, then won a long battle by striking out Ortiz.
Carp’s bleeder back to the left of the mound gave Scherzer some trouble, though, and the single and two-base error left Carp on third. That was where he stayed, though, with Nava flying out to end the top half of the fourth inning.
End 3rd, Tigers 4-2: After a messy first inning, Webster has settled down and has taken care of his end of the job, holding the Tigers scoreless since that grand salami by Martinez. He struck out Cabrera — no easy task — and got Fielder to ground out, then struck out Peralta for the second time after handing over a walk to Martinez.
Now it’s up to the Red Sox batters to handle their end of the bargain and get this league back for the rook.
Mid 3rd, Tigers 4-2: Scherzer is just cruising along now. He’s retired seven straight after coaxing groundouts from Iglesias, Ellsbury and Victorino in the third.
Webster settled in a bit last inning, though, so let’s see if he can keep it going.
End 2nd, Tigers 4-2: There, that’s better.
There was a “here we go again” feeling when Pena opened the bottom of the second with a single to center, but Webster got Jackson to ground to short for a double play right away. Hunter reached on a dribbler toward third, but he got a little greedy and tried to steal second base with Cabrera batting and was thrown out by Salty.
Mid 2nd, Tigers 4-2: One refreshing thing about Scherzer is that he works fast. It helps that Nava, Saltalamacchia and Drew went down in order, but the Detroit hurler doesn’t waste any time between pitches regardless.
End 1st, Tigers 4-2: It turns out, facing one of the most dominant 3-4 combinations in MLB history — which could become one of the best 3-4-5 combos if Martinez hits his stride — is no picnic for a green pitcher like Webster.
Webster gave up singles to Jackson and Hunter, then submitted a walk to Cabrera. When Fielder whiffed, it looked like Webster might be growing up before our very eyes. Then Martinez deposited one beyond the right field wall for a grand slam, and that was that.
Webster eventually got out of the inning with swinging strikeouts by Peralta and Infante sandwiched around a seeing-eye single by Dirks.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 2-0: Webster could use a little run support, and the Red Sox got off to a good start giving it to him. After Ellsbury’s leadoff single, he took third base on a single to right by Victorino, then scored as Pedroia grounded into a double play.
Ortiz missed badly on a breaking ball in his at-bat, but he crushed the next pitch to right to give Boston a quick 2-0 lead. Carp struck out looking, but all in all it was a productive opening frame for the Sox.
7:16 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury takes a ball, and we’re underway.
7:09 p.m.: It’s always fun to take a look back at how players ended up where they are. For Scherzer, his route to Detroit came via a major trade in 2009.
After the 2009 season, the Tigers noticed they were below the major-league minimum for guys whose names begin with “Sch-” so they swung a three-way deal with the Yankees and Diamondbacks. Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth, the son of former NFL lineman Mark Schlereth, went to the Tigers, with Curtis Granderson going to the Yankees.
Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy became D-Backs, while Phil Coke and Austin Jackson, both of whom are still Tigers, headed to Detroit.
6:54 p.m.: Let’s just be honest with each other. You’re bummed out the incomparable Ricky Doyle isn’t bringing you this live blog, and I’m aware I won’t be able to match his level of baseball live blogging mastery.
That said, I’ll do my best, and hopefully you’ll bear with me while I take a rare plunge into live blogging a different type of roundball.
Fortunately, the Red Sox have a familiar face on the mound to make it easy on me. Wait, what’s that? Boston’s starter is Allen Webster, who has a grand total of two previous big league starts on his ledger?
Well, at least I won’t be the only rookie taking part in the proceedings.
6 p.m.: Here’s how the Red Sox will start in their attempt to help out rookie hurler Allen Webster.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Carp, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Jose Iglesias, 3B
Allen Webster, P
Here’s the daunting lineup the Red Sox’ rookie starter will have to face.
Austin Jackson, CF
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Prince Fielder, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Andy Dirks, LF
Omar Infante, 2B
Brayan Pena, C
Max Scherzer, P
8 a.m. ET: Allen Webster will be thrown into the fire on Saturday.
Webster, who has just two big league starts to his credit, will make a spot start against the Tigers. But not only will he go up against one of baseball’s most potent offenses. He’ll also face a pitcher who hasn’t lost all season.
Webster will go toe-to-toe with Max Scherzer, who is a perfect 10-0 with a 3.08 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 14 starts this season. Scherzer enters Saturday’s game on the heels of a six-inning victory over the Orioles on Monday.
Webster, meanwhile, will start in place of the injured Clay Buchholz, and his first two major league outings have been a mixed bag. The 23-year-old gave up just two earned runs over six innings while receiving a no-decision in his first start against the Royals on April 21. And on May 8, he was touched up for eight earned runs in just 1 2/3 innings against the Twins.
Saturday’s contest will be a huge test for the rookie, but the Red Sox swung the bats well on Friday night, so perhaps they’ll have some leftover pop.
Saturday’s game is scheduled to kick off at 7:15 p.m. Be sure to keep it right here throughout the evening.