The Boston Red Sox looked as though they were ticketed for a third consecutive loss, but Jackie Bradley Jr. made sure that didn’t happen.
The Red Sox center fielder crushed a go-ahead, two-run home run in the eighth inning to lift Boston to a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night at Fenway Park.
It was a short outing for Brian Johnson, as the left-hander only lasted 4 1/3 innings after allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk. But Boston’s bullpen showed up in a big way to get the Sox back in the win column.
With the win, the Red Sox improve to 33-27, while the Tigers fall to 29-31.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
The Red Sox waited around to get the bats going Friday night, but a three-run rally in the eighth inning caused for an exciting night at Fenway Park.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Bradley’s homer gave Boston a two-run lead heading into the ninth, which was more than enough for Craig Kimbrel. The Red Sox closer shut down the side to ensure the victory.
ON THE BUMP
— Johnson’s bid for a second consecutive shutout ended early. The left-hander gave up a solo shot to Nick Castellanos on the second batter of the game. The Tigers weren’t done in the first inning, though, as Justin Upton ripped a two-out, RBI single to give the visiting club an early 2-0 lead.
Johnson settled down in the second and third innings, only allowing one hit in the two frames combined. But Detroit’s offense wasn’t dormant for long, as Mikie Mahtook blasted a solo shot to lead off the fourth inning.
Boston’s starter escaped the fourth, but with a rising pitch count and only one out in the fifth inning, Red Sox manager John Farrell decided Johnson’s night was over.
— Heath Hembree followed Johnson and rudely was greeted by a loud double off the bat of J.D. Martinez. Hembree got out of the messy inning, though, by getting Upton to pop out and Mahtook to ground out. The right-hander stayed on for the sixth and pitched a scoreless inning.
— Joe Kelly, on his 29th birthday, entered in the seventh and pitched a scoreless inning.
— Matt Barnes followed suit in the eighth frame, hurling a scoreless inning of his own.
— Kimbrel was his dominant self Friday night, picking up his 18th save of the season with a perfect inning.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Bradley played the role of hero Friday night. His go-ahead, two-run homer gave the Red Sox a 5-3 lead in the eighth inning. He added an RBI single in the fourth inning as part of his 2-for-4 night at the dish.
— Mitch Moreland had a great night at the plate as well. The first baseman blasted a solo home run in the fourth inning, and tied the game at 3-3 with an RBI double in the eighth. He also added a double, finishing 3-for-4 on the night.
— Xander Bogaerts logged two singles in his 2-for-4 performance.
— Mookie Betts went 2-for-3 with a double and single.
— Andrew Benintendi knocked a single in the fourth inning and finished 1-for-4 on the night.
— Sandy Leon (1-for-3) laced a single in the eighth inning.
— Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval all went hitless. in the game.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Pride Night added some flare to the Fenway Park mound.
The Red Sox and Tigers will play Game 2 of their three-game series Saturday night. Chris Sale is scheduled to get the ball for Boston and will be countered by Tigers ace Justin Verlander. First pitch from Fenway Park is set for 7:15 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images