The Boston Red Sox are halfway there.
The Red Sox, who recently stumbled through a 10-game losing streak before then winning seven in a row, suffered their fifth straight loss Saturday. A solid offensive performance wasn’t enough to overcome the Detroit Tigers, who countered with a good offensive showing of their own en route to an 8-6 win at Comerica Park.
John Lackey will take the ball in Sunday’s nationally televised series finale. Let’s take a look at where the Red Sox went off the track in Saturday’s loss.
— Jon Lester, who is undeniably Boston’s ace, failed to play the role of stopper. He laid an egg by failing to make it through five innings.
Lester allowed five earned runs on a season-high 12 hits. He walked one, didn’t strike out anyone and threw 90 pitches (59 strikes). It marked the first time Lester failed to record a strikeout since Opening Day 2011.
The Tigers scored against Lester in each of the first four innings. Detroit produced two runs in the first inning after Lester recorded two quick outs to begin his outing.
— Boston’s usually reliable bullpen was mostly ineffective. Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Andrew Miller each were charged with a run, and the Red Sox were unable to make up ground because of the unit’s struggles.
Tazawa entered the game earlier than usual. He relieved Breslow in the sixth inning, showing that manager John Farrell clearly viewed the situation as a key moment in the contest. Tazawa surrendered a triple to Ian Kinsler and a single to Miguel Cabrera as the Tigers upped their lead to 7-3.
Edward Mujica was the only Red Sox reliever who pitched and wasn’t charged with a run. He worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning, retiring Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter in order.
— Cabrera, Nick Castellanos and Austin Jackson each had three hits for Detroit.
— Eugenio Suarez collected his first major league hit in the fourth inning. It was a solo homer.
— The Red Sox’s offense pounded 15 hits. The Tigers’ offense produced 16.
Boston went 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
— Scherzer gave up four runs on 11 hits over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked one while throwing 115 pitches (78 strikes).
Scherzer even talked his way into facing one more batter than Tigers manager Brad Ausmus originally planned. Ausmus went out to the mound after Scherzer yielded a two-out single to Dustin Pedroia in the seventh inning. Scherzer looked his skipper directly in the eyes and said, “I want the ball.” Ausmus stared back for a minute and finally decided to stick with Scherzer, who then gave up an RBI double to David Ortiz.
— Dustin Pedroia said Friday he plans on heating up.
“I haven’t gotten hot yet,” Pedroia said. “I plan on getting hot — hotter than Tent City. So does David (Ortiz). We’re going to get (Mike Napoli) back. We’re going to get (Shane Victorino) back. We’ll be there.”
(Tent City is an outdoor jail in Arizona where inmates bake in the sun all day.)
Pedroia started to make good on his plan by going 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored. The home run was Pedroia’s third of the season.
Pedroia showed a lot of aggressiveness at the plate, going after a couple of first pitches — something he rarely does.
— Daniel Nava took a step in the right direction. He went 3-for-4 and reached base four times.
— Stephen Drew collected his first hit and RBI since returning to the Red Sox.
— The Red Sox rallied for two runs in the ninth inning before Tigers closer Joe Nathan shut the door. Boston had the tying run on first base, but Drew flied out to center field to end the game.