Boston’s relievers hurled 4 2/3 scoreless innings and only scattered three hits after Brian Johnson’s short outing.
After a complete game shutout in his last start on May 27, the left-hander only lasted 4 1/3 innings against the Tigers, allowing three runs on eight hits with a walk. Johnson labored through his brief start, exiting the game after 105 pitches.
Johnson gave way to Heath Hembree with one out in the fifth inning. Hembree ignited the Boston bullpen’s stellar night, escaping the messy fifth before tossing a scoreless sixth frame.
After the game, Johnson was more than appreciative of the bullpen for ensuring Boston’s victory.
“I can’t thank them enough,” Johnson said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. They’ve worked really hard all year. They’ve battled and done everything that’s been asked of them. It’s huge, especially the way Heath came in and got me out of that inning.”
And Red Sox manager John Farrell echoed his starter’s sentiments.
“It was a really strong night from our bullpen,” Farrell said. “That was the key. Those guys that came to the mound from the bullpen, they did an outstanding job.”
While Boston’s relievers certainly were terrific Friday night, they’ve been called into action fairly often as of late. In the last five games, no Red Sox starter has pitched into the seventh inning, as steep pitch counts in the early frames have become a trend as of late.
Boston’s bullpen was at its best Friday night, but it’s not something the Red Sox should bank on moving forward.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Tigers.
— Mitch Moreland was 3-for-4 with a home run and a double. The Red Sox first baseman has found great success against Detroit this season, as he’s 11-for-19 in five games this season.
— Bradley appears to be finding his home-run swing. The star center fielder has four longballs in his last 13 games.
— Xander Bogaerts record two singles, both coming with two strikes in the count. He currently ranks second in the big leagues with 28 two-strike hits this season.
— Craig Kimbrel picked up his 18th save of the season and his 28th straight successful save attempt at Fenway Park, good for the second-longest streak in the venue’s history.
— Mookie Betts went 2-for-3 with a single and a double. He leads Major League Baseball with 84 multi-hit games since 2016.
— Joe Kelly, on his 29th birthday, extended his scoreless appearance streak to 14 straight outings.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images