Despite hosting the worst team in the major leagues, the Boston Red Sox know they can’t take anything for granted. Tuesday night proved as much.
Up 9-3 early over the slumping Detroit Tigers, the Red Sox quickly saw their lead shrink to two in the sixth inning. Closer Matt Barnes bailed Boston out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth, and the hosts went on to win 11-7 in a game that ended up being a nail-biter down the stretch.
“It was a fun night for the offense,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We needed all of that.”
Boston will look to draw it up cleaner as it takes on Detroit in the second contest of a three-game set Wednesday night. The Red Sox will send left-hander Martin Perez (0-2, 4.70 ERA) to the mound opposite Tigers right-hander Casey Mize (1-3, 5.06).
Detroit making things interesting Tuesday was hardly a consolation prize for the club, which has now lost six straight and 11 of its past 12. The Tigers had been shut out in three of their past four games, so the seven-run, 10-hit outburst was a step in the right direction.
But the prolonged struggles of two-time American League MVP Miguel Cabrera continue to loom large over the club. Cabrera finished 0-for-5 Tuesday, grounding into momentum-killing double plays in both the fifth inning (two on, no outs) and eighth (bases loaded, one out).
He is hitless in his past 23 at-bats, punching out 13 times in that span. Cabrera is hitting .105 this season.
“He’s not in a great place production-wise, but he continues to do his work and feels good,” Detroit skipper A.J. Hinch said. “We’re all pulling for him. We obviously are a better team when he comes out of it, but it’s been a struggle.”
Pitching also has been a problem for the Tigers, who have allowed 10 or more runs in three of their past five games.
Four Red Sox hit home runs Tuesday, including Xander Bogaerts connecting for his sixth in his past 13 games. Hunter Renfroe’s blast was the 100th of his career, and he finished with three hits.
“He’s in a good place right now,” Cora said. “He looks like he has confidence. He’s seeing the ball better, and it seems like good things are going to happen.”
Perez enters Wednesday looking to build off his last start, in which he held the Texas Rangers to two runs (one earned) on five hits over 5 2/3 innings in a tough-luck loss. The left-hander is still seeking his first win at Fenway Park as a member of the Red Sox.
Perez is 2-4 with a 6.81 ERA in eight games (seven starts) lifetime against the Tigers.
Mize, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft, has lost each of his past three starts after picking up the first win of his career against the Houston Astros on April 12. The 24-year-old surrendered three runs on four hits over six innings last time out, against the Chicago White Sox.
-Field Level Media