‘Dangerous’ Kerry Carpenter goes deep twice as Tigers blast past Red Sox

Detroit News

Boston — Eric Haase’s first reaction when the ball left his bat was to yell at it. Like, get the heck out of here!

He hadn’t hit a home run since June 14, a drought of 97 plate appearances. Understandable then that when he connected with a 2-2 cutter from Boston starter Brayan Bello in the fifth inning Saturday, well, he wondered what might go wrong.

“I figured if anything was going to happen it was going to hit the wall or something,” Haase said. “Or I would trip going around first base, something crazy.”

Nothing crazy on this day. After not much threatening Fenway Park’s fabled Green Monster Friday night, the Tigers attacked it with a fury Saturday.

Haase’s homer was one of four they launched over the short-and-tall left-field wall. Kerry Carpenter hit two of them and Spencer Torkelson got another, propelling the Tigers to a 6-2 win over the Red Sox.

“Really good offensive plan, good execution and good results,” manager AJ Hinch said. “Can’t complain about hitting four homers and a good win in a tough park with a lot of contributions from our guys.”

The Tigers have homered now in a season-best eight straight games. Carpenter, the first Tiger to homer twice in the same game at Fenway since Jhonny Peralta in 2010, has three homers in two games.

“He’s dangerous,” Hinch said. “You’re starting to see other teams and other managers managing around him. He and Riley (Greene) are the two guys that get targeted all the time, whether it’s pitching changes or how they pitch them. When he’s swinging the bat with the intent he is now, he can be really productive.”

BOX SCORE: Tigers 6, Red Sox 2

The lefty-swinging Carpenter got it started leading off the second inning. On Friday, he’d hit a 434-foot home run off lefty Chris Sale to right field. It was his third home run off a left-handed pitcher this season.

Against the right-hander Bello, he stayed on a slider and lofted it to the opposite field over the Monster for his 14th home run on the year.

No. 15 came in the eighth off another right-hander, Kyle Barraclough. He sliced a fastball inside the foul pole in left.

“When I can let the ball travel that much and trust it and hit it hard the other way, it’s pretty fun,” he said. “It’s a pretty good spot to be in.”

Pulling left-handers, taking right-handers oppo — it’s all clicking for Carpenter these days. He came into the game Saturday slashing .321/.379/.472 over his last 15 games and is riding a career-best nine-game hitting streak.

Certainly the Red Sox will be adjusting their pitch plan against him for Sunday.

“It’s been like that the whole year,” Carpenter said. “It depends on the team. A lot of teams started to use more off-speed. Some use fastballs. It depends on the team and the day. But, I hit a slider off Sale, slider off Bello and then a fastball.

“I’m confident.”

For Haase, it was just his fourth homer.

“It’s big,” he said. “Just been working and working without a lot to show for it. It’s been a frustrating year. But this was a great win all the way around. Today we were putting better swings on balls, with a lot better approach. … It was definitely nice to get one.

“I got to play left field in Fenway (on Friday) and then hit one over the Monster today, that’s big.”

Torkelson hit a 3-2 sinker off lefty Brennan Bernardino leading off the sixth inning, and it was no cheapy. He cleared the wall in left-center, a 417-footer. Torkelson ended up 4-for-4 on the day, two singles, the home run and a 413-foot double off the wall in center.

He leads the Tigers with 18 home runs.

“Tork might be the unluckiest hitter in the league,” Carpenter told Bally Sports Detroit on the field. “Every ball he puts in play is over 100 mph, it seems like. It was nice to see some fall for him today.”

The six runs were ample cushion, especially with the way right-hander Matt Manning conducted his business.

After three rough outings, Manning went back to pitching off his fastball and got himself back in the groove. He held a tough Red Sox lineup to two hits and one unearned run in 5⅓ innings.

“The one thing I wanted to do today was get inside, I didn’t want their lefties to be able to pepper that wall,” Manning said. “I attacked the way I wanted to today and luckily I came out with a good result.”

Having gotten a little slider happy, especially in his last start against Tampa Bay, he threw 57% four-seamers, mixing in just enough sliders (20%) and curveballs (15%) to keep the Boston hitters off balance.

Manning only had one strikeout, but the 17 balls put in play against him had an average exit velocity of 85.5 mph — mostly weak contact.

“He was stubborn with strikes and very aggressive,” Hinch said. “I like that he did that. He hung in there mentally.”

The one run, unearned, came in the fourth inning after third baseman Nick Maton misplayed a two-out bouncing ball hit by Pablo Reyes, allowing Justin Turner to score from second.

Manning’s other spot of bother came in the second inning when he walked Rafael Devers and Reyes. Four batters into the inning, his strike-to-ball ratio was an untenable 13 to 16. But after pitching coach Chris Fetter came to the mound, Manning responded by throwing eight straight strikes, seven with fastballs, and got two fly outs to end the inning.

“That second inning was the biggest inning of the game for him,” Hinch said. “We scored in the top of second and he walked the leadoff hitter. But he doesn’t concede anything. He doesn’t cave. He ran into some trouble and he hung in there. Getting through that inning set him up nicely for the remainder of the game.”

And what was Fetter’s message in that mound visit?

“Get back in the zone,” Manning said. “He told me what my options were and to just keep attacking. It doesn’t matter if I give up one or two runs, just limit the damage and keep us in the ballgame.”

Lefty Tyler Holton got the final two outs in the sixth and righty Beau Brieske got the Tigers through the seventh.

Turner got him in the eighth, launching his 18th home run of the season, another Monster launch.

Jason Foley, activated off the bereavement list before the game, stranded two of Brieske’s runners in the eighth and then closed out the ninth with no drama.

After the game, Hinch announced that shortstop Javier Báez would be inactive Sunday. He will be tending to his grandfather’s wake and funeral in Puerto Rico and will be placed on the bereavement list.

A corresponding move will be made Sunday morning.


Twitter: @cmccosky

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