Final, Tigers 1-0: The Red Sox’s offense couldn’t produce a single run against Max Scherzer and Co.
Joe Nathan worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close out a 1-0 Tigers win in the teams’ series opener at Fenway Park.
Scherzer tossed six shutout innings to earn his sixth win of the season. The right-hander struck out seven, walked four and threw 106 pitches (66 strikes).
Jon Lester went five innings for Boston, surrendering just one earned run on four hits and three walks. Lester settled down after a shaky first inning but ultimately exited after 94 pitches because of the 47-minute rain delay and suffered his fifth loss of the season.
The Red Sox had some chances, most notably in the sixth and seventh innings. A couple of double plays doomed them, though, and Boston now will turn to John Lackey on Saturday in the hopes of getting back to .500.
Saturday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.
Mid 9th, Tigers 1-0: The Red Sox need one run to extend this game.
Junichi Tazawa shut down the Tigers’ offense in the top of the ninth, striking out Torii Hunter and Alex Avila as part of a perfect frame.
The Tigers now will call upon closer Joe Nathan for the final three outs. David Ortiz, Mike Napoli and Mike Carp are due up for Boston.
End 8th, Tigers 1-0: The Red Sox will need some ninth-inning magic. Joba Chamberlain worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning for the Tigers.
Chamberlain induced three straight ground ball outs. David Ross, Dustin Pedroia and Grady Sizemore were the ones who put the Tigers’ infield to work.
Junichi Tazawa will pitch the eighth inning for Boston, although Koji Uehara also is warming up in the bullpen.
Looking ahead to the ninth inning, David Ortiz, Mike Napoli and Mike Carp are scheduled to bat. The Tigers certainly would like to add some insurance for closer Joe Nathan.
Mid 8th, Tigers 1-0: Mike Napoli flashed some leather to end the top of the eighth inning.
Miguel Cabrera singled with one out. Victor Martinez then smoked a line drive to first base, where Napoli made the play and tagged out Cabrera as part of an unassisted, inning-ending double play.
It looked like the ball even got stuck in Napoli’s glove.
Jonathan Herrera took over at third base at the start of the inning, as A.J. Pierzynski pinch-hit for Will Middlebrooks in the seventh.
Joba Chamberlain will pitch the eighth inning for Detroit. David Ross, Dustin Pedroia and Grady Sizemore are due up for Boston.
End 7th, Tigers 1-0: The Red Sox let another opportunity slip away.
The first two Boston hitters reached for the second straight inning, yet the Red Sox have nothing to show for either threat.
Mike Carp began the seventh inning with a single. That ended Max Scherzer’s night, as the Tigers turned to the bullpen and called upon Evan Reed.
Reed balked with Xander Bogaerts batting, allowing Carp to advance to second base with the potential tying run.
Bogaerts took a 96 mph fastball off the hand/wrist area in a 1-2 count. The rookie hit the ground and appeared to be in some pain, but he ultimately stayed in the game.
John Farrell opted not to bunt with Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate with runners on first and second and no outs. It was an interesting decision, and the move didn’t pay off, as Bradley struck out for the first out.
A.J. Pierzynski pinch-hit for Will Middlebrooks, and the Tigers turned to lefty Ian Krol. Krol got Pierzynski to ground the second pitch of the at-bat to short, where Danny Worth began an inning-ending double play.
Mid 7th, Tigers 1-0: David Ross ended the top of the seventh inning with a cannon down to second base.
Burke Badenhop, who worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning, came back out to begin the seventh.
Nick Castellanos singled into center field before Badenhop bounced back to retire Danny Worth and Rajai Davis.
The Red Sox turned to Edward Mujica at that point with Ian Kinsler coming up. Ross caught Castellanos trying to steal on the second pitch of Kinsler’s at-bat.
End 6th, Tigers 1-0: The Red Sox spoiled a golden opportunity against Max Scherzer in the sixth inning. It was Boston’s best chance to score yet.
David Ross and Dustin Pedroia reached to begin the inning. Ross singled into center field, and Pedroia followed with a five-pitch walk.
Grady Sizemore, batting in the two-hole in Shane Victorino’s absence, put up a very good at-bat against Scherzer. He saw eight pitches and made solid contact. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Sizemore hit the ball right at second baseman Ian Kinsler, who converted it into an inning-altering double play.
The Tigers wisely walked David Ortiz with first base open and Ross on third. Mike Napoli couldn’t cash in with the potential tying run 90 feet away. Napoli struck out looking on a 1-2 changeup that caught the bottom of the strike zone.
Mid 6th, Tigers 1-0: Burke Badenhop did his job in the sixth inning.
Badenhop induced three quick ground-ball outs. The right-hander only needed 10 pitches to retire Torii Hunter, Austin Jackson and Alex Avila in order.
The book officially is closed on Jon Lester, who overcame a shaky first inning to complete five solid frames. Lester gave up one run on four hits and three walks. He struck out seven and threw 94 pitches (54 strikes).
Lester surrendered the lone run on two singles and two walks in the first inning before striking out Alex Avila with the bases loaded.
The 47-minute rain delay certainly kept Lester from working deeper into this game. The Red Sox’s offense really needs to get something going, though, as Max Scherzer has been rolling for the Tigers.
End 5th, Tigers 1-0: David Ortiz’s fourth-inning single remains Boston’s only hit against Max Scherzer.
Scherzer worked a perfect fifth inning to keep Detroit’s one-run lead intact. Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Will Middlebrooks went down without a whisper.
Red Sox manager John Farrell now will turn to his bullpen. Burke Badenhop will pitch the sixth inning after five frames and 94 pitches from starter Jon Lester.
Mid 5th, Tigers 1-0: Jon Lester worked around a leadoff walk to Rajai Davis — always a dangerous move — in the fifth inning.
Davis has excellent speed, so putting him on base is never a good thing. The Tigers’ leadoff man swiped second base as Miguel Cabrera struck out for the second out of the inning.
Davis’ theft didn’t mean much, though. Victor Martinez left him in scoring position by lining out to left field.
End 4th, Tigers 1-0: The Red Sox threatened with two outs in the fourth inning. Max Scherzer wasn’t ready to lose his shutout, though.
Perhaps the bigger story of the fourth was David Ortiz, who came up limping after rounding first base on a single to the wall in right-center field. Ortiz stayed in the game, but it certainly created a few tense moments for the Fenway Faithful.
Mike Napoli followed Ortiz’s single — one of the longest singles you’ll ever see — with a four-pitch walk.
Mike Carp struck out swinging to end the threat.
Mid 4th, Tigers 1-0: Jon Lester came out of the rain delay looking strong.
Lester struck out Alex Avila to begin a 1-2-3 inning. The left-hander started Avila off with back-to-back curveballs, brought some heat, and then went back to the curveball to catch the Tigers catcher looking.
Lester also ended the inning with a strikeout. He blew a 2-2 fastball by Danny Worth.
9:03 p.m., Tigers 1-0: Jon Lester wheels and deals. We’re back underway after a 47-minute rain delay.
8:48 p.m., Tigers 1-0: This game is expected to resume at 9:05 p.m.
8:17 p.m., Tigers 1-0: The rain is really coming down at Fenway Park. The tarp is being rolled out onto the field, and we’ll have a delay.
This has the makings of a passing downpour. Don’t stray too far.
This rain delay is presented by L.L. Bean.
End 3rd, Tigers 1-0: Max Scherzer has been as advertised.
Scherzer has been very sharp in the early going, striking out five in three innings, including all three hitters he faced in the third.
Jackie Bradley Jr., Will Middlebrooks and David Ross all went down swinging in the third inning. Not only that, but Scherzer needed just 10 pitches to strike out the side.
Bradley waved at a curveball. Middlebrooks and Ross both were victimized by sliders.
The Red Sox still are without a hit as the rain falls at Fenway.
Mid 3rd, Tigers 1-0: Jon Lester navigated through some more trouble in the third inning.
Lester, who rebounded from a shaky first inning to enjoy a 1-2-3 second inning, surrendered two hits in the third before closing off Detroit’s threat unscathed.
Victor Martinez doubled with two outs after Ian Kinsler and Miguel Cabrera began the inning with back-to-back groundouts. Mike Carp had a chance to throw out Martinez, who looked like he was running with a piano on his back, but Dustin Pedroia couldn’t handle the toss.
Torii Hunter singled to put runners at the corners for Austin Jackson. Jackson struck out swinging.
End 2nd, Tigers 1-0: Max Scherzer has begun his outing with two scoreless innings.
Mike Napoli walked on five pitches to lead off the second. Napoli had his career-high on-base streak snapped at 33 games Thursday after going 0-for-5 against the Twins.
The Red Sox couldn’t do anything with the baseruner, though. Mike Carp hit a tailor-made double play ball to second base. Ian Kinsler started the 4-6-3 twin killing.
Xander Bogaerts struck out swinging to end the inning. Scherzer piggybacked a 96 mph fastball with a devastating slider.
Mid 2nd, Tigers 1-0: Jon Lester settled down for a 1-2-3 second inning after a shaky first.
Nick Castellanos, Danny Worth and Rajai Davis couldn’t generate any offense. Lester handled things with just 10 pitches.
Castellanos flied to center field, Worth struck out looking and Davis flied to right field.
Lester has three strikeouts through two innings. Two of his K’s have come on the cutter.
End 1st, Tigers 1-0: Max Scherzer’s first inning went much smoother than Jon Lester’s opening frame.
Scherzer retired the Red Sox in order in the first. Dustin Pedroia, Grady Sizemore and David Ortiz failed to get anything going against the reigning American League Cy Young.
Pedroia struck out swinging, Sizemore grounded to first and Ortiz hit a screamer right at left fielder Rajai Davis.
Mid 1st, Tigers 1-0: Jon Lester struggled in the first inning. Fortunately for the Red Sox, the lefty came up with a big-time strikeout when he needed it.
Ian Kinsler started things with a one-out single to the left side. Will Middlebrooks probably should have made the play on Kinsler’s liner, but it deflected off the third baseman’s glove.
Lester walked Miguel Cabrera on five pitches. It obviously wasn’t a productive way to go about business for Lester, but sometimes walking Cabrera is the best thing you can do. Guy’s a stud.
Lester struck out hot-hitting Victor Martinez before falling back into some trouble.
Torii Hunter proved he does his best damage on the field side of the Fenway Park wall. The Tigers outfielder kept his feet on the ground and delivered a single into left-center field to give Detroit a 1-0 lead.
Lester walked Austin Jackson on four pitches to load the bases and fell behind Alex Avila 3-0. The Red Sox ace, to his credit, didn’t give in, though. He struck out Avila with a 93 mph fastball to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.
7:12 p.m.: Rajai Davis takes a big hack at Jon Lester’s first pitch and comes up empty.
6:10 p.m.: Shane Victorino is out of the Red Sox’s starting lineup for the second straight game because of a left knee issue. The severity of Victorino’s knee injury is unclear, but the outfielder underwent an MRI on Friday.
Grady Sizemore will play right field in Victorino’s absence. Mike Carp will start in left field against right-hander Max Scherzer.
John Farrell said he wanted to keep Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field rather than have Bradley shift to right field and have Sizemore play center — something he said earlier this season would be a possibility given Fenway Park’s dimensions — because of the Tigers’ right-handed-heavy lineup. More balls figure to go in the direction of left-center field.
David Ross will start behind the plate with Jon Lester on the mound. A.J. Pierzynski has good numbers against Scherzer (11-for-33 with one homer and seven RBIs) and typically starts against righties, but Farrell has been impressed by the rapport that Ross and Lester have developed over the last season-plus.
Friday’s complete lineups are below.
Boston Red Sox (20-20)
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Grady Sizemore, RF
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Mike Carp, LF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
David Ross, C
Jon Lester, LHP (4-4, 2.75 ERA)
Detroit Tigers (24-12)
Rajai Davis, LF
Ian Kinsler, 2B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Torii Hunter, RF
Austin Jackson, CF
Alex Avila, C
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Danny Worth, SS
Max Scherzer, RHP (5-1, 2.04 ERA)
5:45 p.m. ET: The Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers will square off this weekend at Fenway Park in a rematch of last season’s American League Championship Series.
The teams’ three-game set begins in intriguing fashion. Jon Lester and Max Scherzer will go toe-to-toe Friday in a battle of two premier pitchers. It should be a heck of a showdown, to say the least.
Lester enters with a 4-4 record and a 2.75 ERA. The left-hander has won his last two starts. Lester surrendered just one hit and struck out a career-high 15 over eight shutout innings against the Oakland Athletics on May 3. He followed with a three-run, seven-inning effort against the Texas Rangers on Saturday.
Scherzer, the reigning AL Cy Young, enters as one of baseball’s best pitchers again this season. The right-hander extended his winning streak to five games Saturday with a victory over the Minnesota Twins. He has seven straight starts with at least seven strikeouts to begin 2014.
Since the start of the 2012 season, Scherzer leads all major league pitchers in wins (42) and winning percentage (.792), ranks second in strikeouts (537) and ranks fourth in opponent batting average (.221). That’s dominance, although the Red Sox overcame Scherzer and Co. in last year’s ALCS en route to a World Series title.
Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Tune in on NESN, and follow along right here. You won’t want to miss this one.