Boston — Well, on the plus side for the Tigers, the offense awakened in Boston. They scored 22 runs in the three games at Fenway, that after scoring 10 in the first six games on this trip, through Chicago and New York.
The downside, though, is the pitching and defense faltered, and after losing the finale to the Red Sox, 12-9, on Thursday, the Tigers come home with just two wins for their efforts.
The manner in which the Red Sox won the game in the bottom of the eighth told the tale of the day for the Tigers.
Having just taken a 9-8 lead, the Tigers made two errors (the second errors of the game for shortstop Niko Goodrum and third baseman Jeimer Candelario). There was a two-out walk and wild pitch.
There was also an RBI single by Alex Verdugo. Four unearned runs, all after reliever Alex Lange had punched-out Hunter Renfroe and Marwin Gonzalez.
Only five of the Red Sox 12 runs were earned.
Entertaining as it was, the film from this one probably won’t be sent to Cooperstown: 30 hits, six physical errors (four by the Tigers), a few more mental errors, with a balk, a couple of wild pitches and a passed ball thrown in for good measure.
It was a walk and a balk by Red Sox reliever Matt Andriese that put the Tigers in position to break an 8-8 tie in the top of the eighth inning. He walked Robbie Grossman and balked him into scoring position.
With two outs, Wilson Ramos, who doubled in a run earlier, singled Grossman home with the go-ahead run.
Ramos left the game after that with back stiffness.
The Tigers, after a bullpen game on Tuesday and a 10-inning win on Wednesday, were pretty much out of relievers. By the eighth inning they’d already used Tyler Alexander, Buck Farmer and recently-activated Kyle Funkhouser.
When Lange faltered in the eighth, manager AJ Hinch had to go to Gregory Soto, who threw 30 pitches on Wednesday.
Funkhouser, activated off the taxi squad to replace Derek Holland (left shoulder strain), pitched two scoreless innings. He came back out for the eighth and got Rafael Devers to hit a ground ball to the right side.
But Goodrum booted it and Hinch went to Lange.
The game was tied twice and there were three lead changes. It was a seesaw before that.
The Tigers took a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning Thursday and it was gone in the span of five hitters. Alexander had allowed an unearned run in two innings before he gave up singles to Franchy Cordero and Verdugo to start the inning.
He was replaced by Farmer and three batters later the Red Sox led 8-7. Former Tiger J.D. Martinez, the major league RBI leader, singled home one run and Devers singled in two more.
Farmer has allowed 15 runs in 10⅔ innings this season.
But the Red Sox kept handing out free bases and the Tigers got back to even with an unearned run in the seventh. Harold Castro, who had three hits including a two-run single in the fourth, went from first to third on a throwing error by Devers, his second error of the game, and scored on a ground out by Victor Reyes to tie it at 8.
The Tigers gifted the Red Sox two unearned runs in the third inning, extending what was a rough day for starter Spencer Turnbull, and putting the Tigers in a 4-1 hole.
Goodrum backed up on a bouncing ball by Martinez and played it into an error to start what would be a 32-pitch third inning for Turnbull. He contributed to his own demise, too, hitting two batters in the inning. Singles by Devers and Kevin Plawecki drove in the two runs.
Turnbull was at 80 pitches and done for the day after three innings.
But, as they did in the two previous games in Boston, the Tigers hit their way back into it. Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi allowed just one hit in his first time through the Tigers order. That one hit was a double by JaCoby Jones, who came around to score the first Tigers run in the third.
Second time through the order, though, the Tigers started attacking Eovaldi early in counts. They put together four hits to score three runs in the fourth. Ramos had an RBI double and Castro’s two-run single that tied the game.
The Red Sox scored another unearned run in the fourth, against Alexander, to retake the lead. This time it was Candelario who backed up on a Martinez ground ball and booted it — a two-out, two-base error. Martinez scored on a bloop single by Xander Bogaerts.
The sloppiness must’ve been contagious, though, because the Red Sox gifted the Tigers a pair of runs in the fifth — one on a wild pitch and the other on a ground ball by Goodrum that was scored a single after relief pitcher Josh Taylor failed to cover first base.
Jonathan Schoop (two hits and a walk) and Candelario (three hits) both scored to make it 6-5.
Candelario, who was 6-for-14 with five runs scored and four RBIs in this series, ripped a two-out single in the sixth to put the Tigers up 7-5.
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