The Detroit Tigers scored one run.
It happened on a gift, or two gifts, from the Boston Red Sox in the first inning. But the defensive blunders were among the few mistakes from the Red Sox in Sunday’s series finale.
The Tigers collected nine hits on offense, plus one walk by Jonathan Schoop in a futile ninth-inning rally attempt, yet couldn’t drive in more than one run, losing 4-1. They were swept in three games at Comerica Park, dropping their record to 2-7.
“Losing sucks,” center fielder Riley Greene said. “We hate to lose. It’s one of the worst things ever, but we really got to try our hardest to just leave it in the past. We got the off day tomorrow, and then we go to Toronto for three games. Just forget about everything that happened. New series, new city.”
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With two outs in the first inning, Javier Báez bounced a ground ball to Red Sox shortstop Enrique Hernández. The result was ruled a single by the official scorers but probably should have been an error because of a poor throw.
Either way, the Tigers had a runner on base.
Kerry Carpenter struck out swinging on three pitches, the final pitch a changeup in the dirt, but advanced to first base because a wild pitch from Red Sox starter Kutter Crawford escaped catcher Connor Wong.
The Tigers, thanks to a second miscue, had runners on first and second.
Spencer Torkelson attacked a first-pitch slider at the top of the strike zone for a line-drive single into left, scoring Báez. The Tigers took a 1-0 lead but were silenced the rest of the way.
“We had guys in scoring position a few times, but we just couldn’t capitalize,” Greene said. “It’s going to happen. It’s the game of baseball. Maybe next time, I don’t know, swing a better bat. I really don’t know. It’s baseball. It’s going to happen, so hopefully, it goes our way next time.”
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The Tigers struck out 10 times. Nick Maton, who finished 0-for-4, was responsible for four of the strikeouts. The offense stranded two runners in scoring position in the eighth, then stranded the bases loaded in the ninth.
After Schoop’s walk to juice the bases with one out in the ninth against right-handed closer Kenley Jansen, Zach McKinstry flied out to left field and Akil Baddoo struck out swinging to end the game.
“We kept fighting,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “We still continued to chase a little bit. That comes back to haunt you a little bit when you have guys on base and end up getting a little bit anxious swinging outside of the strike zone.
“All in all, we’ve hung in there for nine innings in all three of these games. … We’ve got to continue to hone in on contact and moving the ball into play because we’re inside the strike zone, not because we’re swinging dangerously outside the strike zone.”
Boyd and the bullpen
Left-hander Matthew Boyd, making his first start at Comerica Park since August 2021, tried his best without run support. He allowed two runs on five hits and four walks with four strikeouts across 4⅔ innings.
Boyd tossed 46 of 75 pitches for strikes.
“I could have been a lot better,” Boyd said. “There’s a lot of opportunity for me personally to get deeper in that game and get ahead in the counts. I just had some spurts where I lost my rhythm in my delivery, and then it was rolling after that. I have to minimize those instances and be in a situation where I eliminate those four walks.”
He squandered the Tigers’ lead in the second inning. Hernández worked an easy four-pitch walk with one out and came around to score — tying the game at 1-1 — on Triston Casas’ double to right field.
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Two of Boston’s first three runs were scored by players who drew walks.
The Tigers replaced Boyd in the fifth inning, but not before the Red Sox tallied back-to-back hits to open the frame. Wong doubled to left field and scored on Rob Refsnyder’s ensuing single into left field for a 2-1 advantage.
“Inconsistent,” Hinch said. “We didn’t control the strike zone again. Two of the first three runs to score were walks. He was effective. I think he had some of the best stuff that he’s had, but the inconsistency in rolling the lineup way too many times gives them extra at-bats and extra opportunities.”
Three batters later, right-handed reliever Jason Foley entered to face Adam Duvall, a right-handed hitter, with two runners on base and two outs. Duvall grounded into an inning-ending out.
Foley returned for the sixth and retired three batters in a row.
“He’s a really good reliever when he controls the strike zone,” Hinch said, “and he pounded the strike zone with some velocity and some movement.”
Another walk came back to bite the Tigers in the seventh inning, when righty reliever Alex Lange replaced Foley. He walked Refsnyder, the second batter he faced, on six pitches.
Rafael Devers put runners on the corners with a single.
Surprisingly, Red Sox third base coach Carlos Febles sent Refsnyder on Justin Turner’s shallow fly ball to right fielder Kerry Carpenter. Refsnyder tagged up and scored, putting the Red Sox ahead 3-1, despite a perfect throw from Carpenter. He should have been tagged out at the plate to end the inning, but Eric Haase couldn’t to catch the ball on a bounce.
Casas hit a solo homer off left-hander Chasen Shreve in the ninth inning. The Red Sox scored four runs on seven hits and five walks (plus one hit-by-pitch) with eight strikeouts.
In the third inning, Báez reacted quickly at shortstop and lunged toward a line drive from Alex Verdugo. The ball, drilled with a 101.6 mph exit velocity, had a .790 expected batting average.
It should have been a single.
But Báez caught the ball for the second out, then fired the ball to first baseman Spencer Torkelson for the third out. The Báez-Torkelson combination doubled up Turner at first base to end the inning.
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In the fifth, Báez received additional activity at shortstop once the Red Sox took a 1-0 lead. Devers popped out to Báez in shallow left field for the first out, and once again, Báez tried to double up the runner heading back to first base.
The former Gold Glove winner was unsuccessful because Torkelson couldn’t get his foot on the bag in time.
The Tigers challenged the call on the field but lost.
The next batter, Turner, hit a grounder to Báez and ended up safe at first base due to failed double play. Báez, trying to get the runner advancing to second base, skipped the ball passed Schoop covering second for a throwing error. After that, Verdugo flied out to Báez in shallow left-center field for the second out in the inning.
“I know he was pretty far over in the hole and made a mistake,” Hinch said. “The other spectacular plays are like we’ve seen time and time again. He can be creative with how he gets outs. It’s pretty electrifying. Guys are going to make mistakes, Javy included. That one was probably trying to be a little too quick.”
Báez has two errors in nine games.
Contact Evan Petzold at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.