BOSTON — One run was all the Detroit Tigers needed to knock the Red Sox back below .500.
Max Scherzer tossed six shutout innings Friday as the Tigers earned a 1-0 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Boston produced just three hits in its third loss in four games.
Friday’s contest was interrupted by a 47-minute rain delay in the fourth inning, but it didn’t really matter. Torii Hunter’s first-inning RBI single off Jon Lester held up as the difference.
Let’s go over some notes from Friday’s action.
– Scherzer showed why he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. The right-hander surrendered just three hits, struck out seven, walked three and threw 106 pitches (66 strikes).
– Lester was a hard-luck loser.
Lester was done in by a shaky first inning in which the Tigers scored one run on two hits and two walks before the left-hander struck out Alex Avila with the bases loaded. Lester exited the game after five innings, surrendering just one run on four hits and three walks.
The fourth-inning rain delay played a role in Lester, who threw 94 pitches, only lasting five frames. Lester said he actually felt better after the rain delay, but manager John Farrell’s mind was made up.
“I felt like I could have gone one more, but that’s not my decision,” Lester said. “I’ve won some battles with John before, but he won that one.”
– Lester suffered his fifth loss despite lowering his ERA to 2.67. The Red Sox haven’t given their ace much run support this season.
“I can’t worry about that. It’s kind of luck of the draw sometimes,” Lester said. “Like tonight, you give up one run and you lose. That’s the nature of playing this game. Sometimes you give up six and you get a no-decision, or sometimes you hold on long enough to get a ‘W.’”
– The Red Sox grounded into three double plays — Mike Carp in the second, Grady Sizemore in the sixth and A.J. Pierzynski in the seventh.
– The Red Sox put their first two hitters on base in the sixth and seventh innings yet failed to score in both instances.
Boston could have bunted in the sixth with Sizemore or in the seventh with Jackie Bradley Jr., who struck out before Pierzynski grounded into an inning-ending double play. Farrell opted not to go down those routes, though.
– The Tigers turned to lefty Ian Krol to face Pierzynski in the seventh inning after Farrell called upon Pierzynski to pinch-hit for Will Middlebrooks. Farrell, theoretically, could have countered with Jonny Gomes, but that would have left the Red Sox’s bench spread thin.
“With (Shane Victorino’s) status, Jonny was the last player remaining,” Farrell said. “Knowing that it was going to be a 2-for-1 move with (Jonathan) Herrera going to third, we kept Jonny back as the last available player.”
– Middlebrooks took a line drive off his right index finger in the first inning that began to swell up later in the game.
– Xander Bogaerts was drilled by a 96 mph fastball from reliever Evan Reed in the seventh inning. The ball hit Bogaerts just above his left hand on the bone in his wrist, and the 21-year-old went down like a ton of bricks.
It appears the Red Sox have dodged a bullet, though. Bogaerts, who had his wrist wrapped in ice after the game, finished the contest and said he expects to play Saturday.
“It was pretty scary,” Bogaerts said. “I guess I’m blessed.”
– David Ortiz extended his season-long hit streak to nine games. He’s hitting .500 (18-for-36) in that stretch.
– Victorino underwent an MRI on his left knee but is unlikely to land on the disabled list, according to Farrell.