David Ortiz, never one to shy away from the big moment, jacked a three-run homer off Joba Chamberlain in the ninth inning to give the Red Sox a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. The victory snapped Boston’s five-game losing streak and stopped the club’s streak of seven consecutive series ending in sweeps.
Ortiz’s heroics obviously put the Red Sox over the top. But there was much more to Sunday’s win, so let’s go over some notes from the nationally televised affair.
— The Red Sox, sticking with their usual offensive approach, drove up Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez’s pitch count early. Sanchez threw 112 pitches over six innings, while Red Sox starter John Lackey threw the same amount of pitches over eight innings.
— Lackey deserves credit for his performance. He gave up three runs (two earned) over eight innings while striking out five and walking one. Lackey has gone eight innings in back-to-back starts.
— Mike Napoli made his presence felt in his first game back off the disabled list.
Napoli reached base four times and collected three hits, including a solo homer in the sixth inning that tied the game at two apiece.
Napoli’s home run was his first since April 22, as he was mired in a long ball drought even before landing on the DL. The slugger’s team-best on-base percentage now sits at .401.
— Brock Holt again served as a spark plug atop Boston’s order.
Holt went 4-for-5 with a triple, three singles and a run scored. He jump-started the Red Sox’s ninth-inning rally by grounding a leadoff single into center field.
The offensive production came despite Holt playing in the outfield for the first time in his professional career. Holt started in left field, and even made a terrific running catch in the third inning to rob Ian Kinsler of extra bases and prevent a run from scoring.
“Unbelievable. He’s the kind of guy that brings a lot to this ballclub,” Ortiz said. “We need guys to step up and guys like him to come up and do what he’s been doing. It’s incredible.”
— Dustin Pedroia went hitless but worked a key one-out walk in the ninth inning to set the stage for Ortiz’s heroics. Chamberlain threw Pedroia six straight breaking balls before firing a 3-2 fastball in the dirt.
— Xander Bogaerts made his first error at third base this season. It was a big one at the time.
The Tigers grabbed a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning when rookie Eugenio Suarez knocked in Nick Castellanos with a single into left field. Bogaerts couldn’t handle Austin Jackson’s ground ball to third base two batters prior. It looked like Bogaerts tried to rush the play in order to turn two, although it would have been difficult regardless with Jackson running down the line.
Bogaerts also went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, although he made a couple of nice defensive plays in the ninth inning to help Koji Uehara nail down a 1-2-3 save.
— Stephen Drew went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. He’s now 1-for-14 with five strikeouts since rejoining the Red Sox.
Red Sox manager John Farrell opted to pinch-hit Jonathan Herrera for Drew in the eighth inning with left-hander Phil Coke on the mound. It was an interesting decision, especially given that Jonny Gomes remained on Boston’s bench. However, Drew still is getting his feet under him and the Tigers likely would have turned to a right-hander if Gomes entered the game.
— Miguel Cabrera left the game in the sixth inning with left hamstring tightness. He’s listed as day-to-day.