Verlander rebounds, but Red Sox edge Tigers in 11 innings

BY foxsports • July 24, 2015

BOSTON (AP) -- Justin Verlander took one step forward while the Detroit Tigers took two steps back Friday night.

Verlander held the Boston Red Sox to one run and seven hits over eight innings, but it wasn't enough to offset Detroit struggling offense in a 2-1 loss in 11 innings.

"Obviously, you wish for a better outcome, but being able to go out there and go eight solid innings was good," said Verlander, who did not factor in the decision.

Detroit lost for the eighth time in 11 games and is 0-7 in Verlander's starts this season.

"Today was a big step forward from the last game," said Verlander, who gave up seven runs and eight hits in a loss to Minnesota on July 19. "Hopefully I just feed off this and continue to move forward."

Xander Bogaerts' single up the middle off Blaine Hardy in the 11th drove home the winning run, allowing the Red Sox to snap a season-worst eight-game losing streak.

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 Betts beat the throw home in a play that withstood a video review as the Red Sox celebrated their first victory in nearly two weeks.

"It was a lot closer than you would have imagined just watching the play live, but really we had nothing to lose by checking it," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.

Justin Masterson (4-2) worked around Ian Kinsler's third hit and a walk in the 11th to earn the victory on a night Verlander and former Detroit teammate Rick Porcello dueled to a draw.

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.

"It always makes me a little nervous when a player's facing the team that traded him away," Ausmus said. "They seem to have a little extra incentive. I assumed he'd be on his game."

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.

Working in a sharp slider, Verlander retired the first seven hitters before Shane Victorino's bloop single. Then the righty's recent troubles -- pitching out of the stretch -- seemed to strike again.

Ryan Hanigan and Holt followed with singles, the latter scoring Victorino to make it 1-1. But Verlander settled down and was lifted after throwing 111 pitches that included three strikeouts and no walks.

Ex-Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias doubled to left and scored on Kinsler's single up the middle in the third off Porcello, who then got his signature sinker working.

J.D. Martinez (2 for 4) was wiped out on Nick Castellano's double-play groundout in the fourth, and Porcello struck out four over his final three innings in his longest stint since June 3.

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.

Mike Napoli lined sharply to pitcher Al Albuquerque with Bogaerts on second to end the ninth. But Bogaerts produced Boston's third walkoff win of the season, and its first since April 27, against Toronto.


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: Manager John 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.