Alex Verdugo, Xander Bogaerts, Hunter Renfroe, Kiké Hernández all homer as Red Sox hold on to defeat Tigers, 11-7

It was no easy feat, but the Red Sox held on to take the opener of their three-game series against the Tigers by a final score of 11-7 at Fenway Park on Tuesday.

The Sox jumped out to an early four-run lead in this one by teeing off on Tigers starter Michael Fulmer, with J.D. Martinez getting his side on the board in the first inning by grounding into a run-scoring fielder’s choice.

A string of RBI singles from the likes of Christian Vazquez, Marwin Gonzalez, and Hunter Renfroe would knock Fulmer out of Tuesday’s contest earlier than he probably expected, but Boston was far from done in the scoring department.

That being the case because an inning later, Alex Verdugo and Xander Bogaerts tacked on three more runs to the Red Sox’ total by crushing a pair of home runs over the Green Monster off Tigers reliever Alex Lange.

In the third, Renfroe scored on a wild pitch. In the fifth, he belted a solo homer to make it a 9-3 game.

After Detroit made things interesting in the middle innings, Vazquez provided some much-needed insurance in Boston’s half of the sixth when he plated Martinez on an RBI double down the left field line.

Enrique Hernandez followed suit in the eighth, as the leadoff man joined the home run party and clubbed his fourth of the season to left-center field to give his side an 11-7 lead.

Pivetta fans eight over five innings

Nick Pivetta made his his sixth start of the season for the Red Sox on Tuesday, and his first ever start (second career appearance) against the Tigers.

Over five innings of work, the right-hander yielded three runs — all of which were earned — on six hits and two walks to go along with a season-high eight strikeouts on the night.

Those first two Tigers runs were given up by Pivetta in the top half of the first. The other one was given up in the top half of the fifth, an inning in which it seemed like Pivetta would not be able to get through after he put the first three hitters he faced on base.

Inducing a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Miguel Cabrera aided Pivetta tremendously, though, and he was able to end the fifth by getting Jonathan Schoop to ground out to third.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 100 (65 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 54% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday and topped out 96 mph with the pitch. He also induced eight of his 10 swings-and-misses on his slider, a pitch he threw 36 times.

Able to improve to a perfect 4-0 on the season, Pivetta will look for winning decision No. 5 in his next time out, which should come against the Orioles on Tuesday.

Red Sox bullpen takes over for final four innings

In relief of Pivetta, Austin Brice got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen for the sixth inning, and he put two of the first three Tigers he faced on base before serving up a three-run home run to JaCoby Jones.

Only able to record one out while inflating his ERA on the season to 7.88, Brice was given the hook in favor of Matt Andriese, who allowed one inherited runner to cross the plate before fanning a pair to retire the side.

From there, Adam Ottavino maneuvered his way around a one-out walk in an otherwise clean seventh inning, while Darwinzon Hernandez managed to get just one out in eighth before filling the bases on a Victor Reyes groundball that was misplayed by Bobby Dalbec and a pair of walks.

That led the Sox to make another pitching change, as Matt Barnes came on in a 10-7 game to face the potential go-ahead run for the Tigers in the form of Cabrera.

Fresh off being named the American League Reliever of the Month for April, Barnes escaped the jam by getting Cabrera to ground into yet another twin killing. He then 1-2-3 ninth inning to preserve an 11-7 win for the Red Sox and notch his seventh save of the season in the process of doing so.

Renfroe reaches milestone

By depositing a 362-foot solo shot off Buck Farmer in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s win, Renfroe picked up the 100th big fly of his major-league career.

With a 3-for-4 showing at the plate, the 29-year-old is now slashing .333/.364/.714 over his last seven games played.

Next up: Rookie vs. a vet

Wednesday’s pitching matchup between the 18-12 Red Sox and 8-22 Tigers will feature rookie right-hander Casey Mize getting the ball for Detroit and veteran left-hander Martin Perez doing the same for Boston.

Mize, a 2018 first-round draft pick out of Auburn, will be making his first career start against the Sox.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Hunter Renfroe: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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