The Boston Red Sox managed just six total runs in this week’s three-game series in the Bronx. They surpassed that in six innings Friday night.
Boston found its offensive groove against the Detroit Tigers, jumping out to an early lead and cruising to a 7-2 win at Comerica Park.
GAME IN A WORD
As in “in the right direction.”
Red Sox starter Joe Kelly pitched his best game since returning from Triple-A, allowing just two runs — both coming on a two-run home run by J.D. Martinez in the fourth — in 5 1/3 innings of work to pick up his second consecutive win.
It was the first time since June 17 that Kelly had allowed fewer than four earned runs in a major league start.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Koji Uehara entered with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and needed just eight pitches to retire the game’s final two batters.
ON THE BUMP
— Kelly breezed through the first three innings, allowing two singles but nothing else. The much-maligned right-hander showed tremendous strikeout ability in those early frames, picking up each of his first six outs — and seven of his first eight — by way of the K.
Trouble found Kelly in the fourth. Ian Kinsler led off the inning with a single, then Martinez sent a ball over the fence in left-center two batters leader to cut Boston’s lead to 5-2. Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. helped limit the damage by making a fantastic running catch for the first out, and Kelly picked Tyler Collins off first base to end the inning.
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The first two batters of the fifth inning reached, as well, but a line-drive double play helped Kelly escape the frame unscathed.
After walking the leadoff man in the sixth and surrendering a one-out double, Kelly’s night was done. He allowed two runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out seven.
— Robbie Ross Jr. entered into an undesirable situation with runners on second and third and one out, but he was able to keep the Tigers off the board. Ross struck out Collins and got Nick Castellanos to ground out to second to end the threat.
— Jean Machi allowed a one-out double but nothing more in a scoreless seventh.
— The Red Sox aimed to let Justin Masterson finish off the game, but the big right-hander loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, forcing manager John Farrell to call on closer Koji Uehara.
— Uehara shut the door on the Tigers, but his save was a painful one. Kinsler nailed the right-hander in the wrist with a line drive, which Uehara picked up and threw to first for the final out.
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IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The trade of first baseman Mike Napoli shortly before first pitch necessitated a last-minute lineup change, with Travis Shaw shifting from third base to first and Pablo Sandoval — originally a scratch — getting the nod at third.
Shaw went 0-for-5 in the game, while Sandoval singled and walked in five plate appearances.
— The Red Sox immediately jumped on Tigers starter Daniel Norris, touching the lefty for two runs in the top of the first inning. Rusney Castillo and Bogaerts singled in the frame, and Hanley Ramirez drove them both in with a two-out double to left.
— Boston added another two in the third, these coming via a mammoth home run by David Ortiz, his 20th of the season. Castillo, who smacked his second base hit of the night two batters earlier, trotted home on Ortiz’s blast.
Ramirez and Sandoval also added singles in the third, and Bradley and Brock Holt each singled in the fourth to end what was a forgettable outing for Norris. Castillo followed Holt’s base hit with an RBI groundout that scored Bradley from third and stretched the Red Sox’s lead to 5-0.
— Bogaerts hopped on the RBI train in the sixth, driving in Bradley and Castillo with a two-out double. That two-bagger followed the third single of the game for Castillo, who went 3-for-5 on the night. Bogaerts also collected three hits to go along with two RBIs and one run scored.
— Catcher Ryan Hanigan was hit in the elbow by a pitch during a sixth-inning at-bat. Blake Swihart pinch-hit for him the following inning and singled in his first-at-bat.
TWEET OF THE GAME
You will be missed, Nap.
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The Sox and Tigers will continue their three-game series Saturday, with Wade Miley opposing Alfredo Simon.
Thumbnail photo via Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports Images