The Red Sox were given multiple opportunities to come away with a come-from-behind win over the worst team in the American League on Wednesday, but were unable to do so in what would go down as a 6-5 loss to the Tigers in 10 innings at Fenway Park.
Trailing 3-1 going into their half of the seventh inning after pushing across just one run against Tigers starter Casey Mize, J.D. Martinez got his side back in the swing of things by belting a game-tying, two-run home run to right field off reliever Bryan Garcia.
Down to their final out in the ninth inning, Enrique Hernandez, Rafael Devers, and Martinez all reached base one way or another to fill the bases for Xander Bogaerts, who laced a line drive to left field — but a liner that was catchable for Tigers left fielder Robbie Grossman.
Moments later, rookie right-hander Garrett Whitlock came on for the top half of the 10th inning in what was his eight appearance of the season — and his first when working on just two days rest.
With a runner already on second base (extra-inning rule), Whitlock gave up a leadoff single to Jonathan Schoop before serving up a crushing three-run home run to Jeimer Candelario on the outer half of the plate.
Since beginning his major-league career with 13 1/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, the Rule 5 pick has now surrendered home runs in back-to-back outings going back to Sunday.
Even though they were put in a three-run hole, the Sox did nearly stage an epic comeback in the 10th. Marwin Gonzalez drove in a run on a single and later scored on a fielding error committed by Willi Castro.
Boston cutting things close led Detroit to make an interesting pitching change, as Michael Fulmer — Tuesday’s starter — was inserted into the game to face Bobby Dalbec.
Dalbec lined out to third for the second out of the inning and Hernandez went down looking on four pitches to end the game.
All in all, the Sox went 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday and left 12 men on base as a team.
Perez’s winless streak at Fenway continues
Martin Perez made his sixth start of the season for the Red Sox in this one. The left-hander yielded three runs — two of which were earned — on six hits, two walks, and six strikeouts over 5 2/3 solid innings of work.
The first run Perez gave up was scored by the Tigers in the fourth inning, when JaCoby Jones ripped a single to left field that Franchy Cordero could not come up with cleanly, which in turn allowed Candelario to score from second base on the play. Cordero was charged with a fielding error.
In the sixth, Perez was just one out away from completing his first six-inning start of the year, but after giving up a pair of singles, he allowed two more Tigers runs to score on a two-run base knock from Jones to make it a 3-1 game.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (57 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his cutter 38% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday, inducing four swings-and-misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 95 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 11 times.
Ultimately hit with the no decision in this one while lowering his ERA on the season to 4.40, Perez has still yet to win a game at Fenway Park since signing with the Red Sox before the start of the 2020 season.
Red Sox bullpen takes over
In relief of Perez, Josh Taylor got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen and recorded the final out of the sixth inning.
From there, Hirokazu Sawamura, Adam Ottavino, and Matt Barnes combined to punch out six batters over three scoreless frames before making way for Whitlock in the 10th.
Arroyo removed due to hand contusion
Starting at second base for Boston on Wednesday, Christian Arroyo had to be removed from the game after seven innings after taking a 92 mph sinker off his left hand — the same hand he injured late lost month — in the sixth inning.
Arroyo was later diagnosed with a left hand contusion and X-rays came back negative.
The fact that Arroyo had to be removed after Alex Verdugo had already been scratched from Wednesday’s lineup — meaning the Sox had a short bench — resulted in Christian Vazquez moving from catcher to second base, Gonzalez moving from first base to left field, Dalbec taking over at first after pinch-hitting for Cordero, and Kevin Plawecki taking over behind the plate for Vazquez.
Next up: Series finale
Thursday’s pitching matchup between the 18-13 Red Sox and 9-22 Tigers will feature a pair of right-handers, with Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston and Spencer Turnbull doing the same for Detroit.
First pitch for Thursday’s series finale is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)