Detroit Tigers blow late lead for sloppy 12-9 loss to Boston Red Sox

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox combined for 21 runs, 30 hits, seven walks and six errors in Thursday’s sloppy series finale at Fenway Park.

Third baseman Jeimer Candelario made his second fielding error with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, allowing the Red Sox to take the lead.

The Tigers (9-23) returned to the loss column in a 12-9 defeat to the Red Sox, after snapping a six-game losing streak in Wednesday’s 6-5 victory in the 10th inning. They’ve scored six or more runs in three consecutive games.

Boston (19-13) scored four in the eighth inning to overcome a 9-8 deficit, as the Tigers committed four errors for seven unearned runs.

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During the three-game set with the Red Sox, the Tigers went 35-for-119 (.294) with 22 runs, 11 walks and 34 strikeouts. They came into the series with a league-worst .195 batting average, but the team’s offense began to show life in Tuesday’s opener, despite an 11-7 loss.

Detroit returns to Comerica Park at 7:10 p.m. Friday against the Minnesota Twins. Left-hander Tarik Skubal is pitching, opposed by righty Matt Shoemaker.

Late game drama

Carrying a league-worst 6.75 ERA, the bullpen struggled, as three sixth-inning runs were charged to Tyler Alexander (two) and Buck Farmer (one). Righty Kyle Funkhouser — in his 2021 debut — escaped further damage and pitched two scoreless innings.

The Tigers knotted the game at 8 in the top of the seventh. Runners advanced to second and third base on Boston’s second error, and Victor Reyes scored Harold Castro with a grounder to shortstop.

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In the eighth inning, Wilson Ramos broke the tie with a slow-rolling two-out single to left field against righty Matt Andriese for a 9-8 lead. But the Red Sox tied it with a two-out, RBI single from pinch-hitter Christian Vazquez against Alex Lange.

Soto relieved Lange and couldn’t stop the Red Sox from tacking on three more.

Errors allow early runs

A 32-pitch third inning for Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull began with a fielding error by shortstop Niko Goodrum. He looked dispassionate on a ground ball from J.D. Martinez, and the ball snuck underneath his glove. It was his first of two errors.

The Red Sox went ahead 3-1 following a hit-by-pitch and RBI single from Rafael Devers. A strikeout double play, with help from Ramos, helped Turnbull, but another hit-by-pitch and RBI single from Kevin Plawecki made it 4-1.

Boston’s first two runners were scored on a single from Martinez in the first inning and a double from Franchy Cordero in the second inning. Of Turnbull’s four runs, two were unearned.

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Turnbull tossed 30 pitches in the first inning, 18 in the second and 32 in the third. He departed after getting the third out in the third frame, after throwing 51 of his 80 pitches for strikes. He allowed seven hits, zero walks and two hit batters, with three strikeouts.

Making his fourth start, Turnbull got four swings-and-misses and 11 called strikes. The Red Sox fouled 21 pitches. His four-seam fastball earned him four of his six whiffs, and seven of his 11 called strikes.

The Tigers committed their second error in the fourth inning, as Candelario muffed a bouncing ground ball. Martinez reached second base on the mistake and later scored on Xander Bogaerts’ single off Alexander for a 5-4 lead.

Offense heating up

Center fielder JaCoby Jones has picked up the pace offensively, but he struck out with the bases loaded in the eighth inning.

Entering Thursday, Jones was 3-for-8 with one home run and five RBIs in his past two games, along with a four-game hitting streak. He went 1-for-5 in the series finale, doubling and scoring in the third inning for Detroit’s first run.

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The Tigers plated three runs in the fourth inning, as Ramos drove in Jonathan Schoop with a double on a first-pitch slider from Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi. Castro followed by singling home two more runs on a first-pitch fastball to tie the game, 4-4.

After going down by one run, the Tigers regained the lead in the top of the fifth inning by capitalizing on mistakes from the Red Sox. Reliever Josh Taylor took over for Eovaldi with Schoop and Candelario on second and third, respectively. His second pitch went wild, allowing Schoop to score. Then, Goodrum tacked on a go-ahead single.

Schoop, Ramos and Goodrum had two-hit performances, while Candelario and Castro picked up three hits.

Reaching .300

When Candelario delivered a one-run single in the sixth inning for a 7-5 lead, he reached a .300 batting average across 32 games. He dropped to .298 in the eighth on a grounder to second base.

But Candelario’s 11th multi-hit game was further proof of his development with the Tigers. While his teammates slumped through the second half of April and early stages of May, Candelario never stopped making hard contact.

He has evolved into the leader of the offense, after a .297 batting average across 52 games last season. Candelario, 27, continues to make his case to stick with the organization.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzoldRead more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter

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