BOSTON (AP) After Rick Porcello did all he could against his former team, it came down to Xander Bogaerts to end nearly two weeks of misery for the Boston Red Sox.
A jersey-tearing celebration ensued.
Bogaerts’ single up the middle off Blaine Hardy in the 11th inning drove home the winning run, and the Red Sox snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
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Hardy (3-2) gave up a leadoff walk to Mookie Betts, who moved to second on Brock Holt’s sacrifice bunt. Bogaerts then sent a changeup into center field and the speedy Betts beat the throw home.
Bogaerts’ jersey was torn in a team pileup near second base, but then the umpires signaled for a video review. After a lengthy delay, the much-needed win for the last-place Red Sox was upheld.
”I wanted to know what was going to happen if he was out,” Bogaerts said, smiling. ”I’d have to get another jersey? I don’t know what would have happened.”
Justin Masterson (4-2) worked around Ian Kinsler’s third hit and a walk in the 11th to earn the victory on a night Justin Verlander and Porcello, his former Detroit teammate, dueled to a draw.
”This was huge,” Porcello said.
Porcello, who spent the past six seasons in Detroit, allowed one run over seven innings in his first start against the Tigers. He struck out six without a walk in a much-needed strong performance amid a disappointing season.
”The last three (starts), he’s clearly moving in the right direction,” Boston manager John Farrell said. ”I think the added velocity and the action of the sinker is just a matter of more relaxation on the mound.”
Verlander, still looking for his first victory, gave up a run and seven hits in eight innings in Detroit’s eighth loss in 11 games.
”Obviously, you wish for a better outcome,” Verlander said, ”but being able to go out there and go eight solid innings was good.”
Porcello, Detroit’s first-round draft pick in 2007, won a career-best 15 games last season. He was traded in December and the Red Sox quickly gave him a new contract. But the right-hander entered with a 5.79 ERA – worst in the AL among qualifying starters – and his 10 losses matched the most in the league.
Porcello routinely played golf in Detroit with his old teammate Verlander, who was going through his own struggles.
The former AL MVP didn’t get out of the fourth inning in his last start, sported a 6.62 ERA and the Tigers had lost all six of his starts since he returned from a triceps injury.
Working in a sharp slider, Verlander retired the first seven hitters. Boston’s first run came on Holt’s RBI single in the third. before Shane Victorino’s bloop single. Then the righty’s recent troubles – pitching out of the stretch – seemed to strike again.
Verlander settled down and was lifted after throwing 111 pitches that included three strikeouts and no walks.
Porcello also gave up his run in the third, when ex-Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias doubled to left and scored on Kinsler’s single up the middle.
The Red Sox were without DH David Ortiz (rest) and second baseman Dustin Pedroia (hamstring) as they returned from an 0-7 trip in which they were outscored 39-13.
But Bogaerts said he’s still looking at the standings, and noticed the Yankees were losing just before he produced Boston’s third walkoff win of the season, and its first since April 27, against Toronto.
”It was a lot closer than you would have imagined just watching the play live,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. ”But really we had nothing to lose by checking it.”
Tigers: 1B Miguel Cabrera, on the DL since July 4 with a left calf strain, took some light swings in batting practice. He’s not expected back until mid-August. ”I’m here because I want to be here. I want to play,” Cabrera said. ”I’ve got to be on the field.”
Red Sox: Farrell said Pedroia is ”still feeling it a little bit in that hamstring” and sat out a second straight game. Pedroia is 1 for 22 since returning from the DL. … While Farrell said Ortiz is experiencing general soreness, it was a planned day off.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright (3-3, 4.84 ERA) returns from Triple-A to make his second start for Boston in a week in the series’ middle game Saturday. He will face Alfredo Simon (8-6, 4.63), who hasn’t made it out of the sixth inning this month.