The three-game losing streak has come to an end. After getting swept by the Pirates at home, the Red Sox opened the road portion of their schedule with a win over the Tigers on Thursday afternoon. Boston defeated Detroit by a final score of 6-3 at Comerica Park to improve to 3-4 on the season.
Chris Sale, making his second start of the year for the Sox, was able to bounce back from a rough 2023 debut last Saturday. The veteran left-hander allowed three runs on four hits and three walks to go along with seven strikeouts over five innings of work.
It was an interesting start to the day for Sale, who issued back-to-back walks to the first two batters he faced on eight consecutive balls. He then received a mound visit from pitching coach Dave Bush and promptly struck out the next three Tigers he faced to escape the jam in the top of the first. An inning later, though, Sale issued a one-out walk to Jonathan Schoop and Jake Rogers followed by clubbing a 414-foot two-run home run to left field to give Detroit an early 2-0 lead.
The Red Sox were able to get one of those runs back off Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull in the top of the third. With no outs and runners on the corners following a Christian Arroyo walk and Reese McGuire, Enrique Hernandez drove in Arroyo with an RBI groundout. Detroit quickly responded, however, as Sale gave up three straight two-out singles in the latter half of the frame. Miguel Cabrera pushed the lead back to two runs by plating Spencer Torkelson with his base hit.
Rafael Devers got his productive day at the plate started in the fourth, as he led things off by taking Turnbull 401 feet deep to left-center field for his second home run of the season. The ball left Devers’ bat at a blistering 107.9 mph and cut Boston’s back down to one run at 3-2.
Sale meanwhile, ended his outing on a strong note by retiring six of the last seven batters he faced from the middle of the fourth through the end of the fifth. The 34-year-old southpaw finished with 74 pitches (46 strikes). He averaged 91.5 mph and topped out at 95 mph with his sinker while inducing 10 total swings-and-misses.
With Sale’s day done after five, the Red Sox put the lefty in position to pick up his first win of the season by breaking out for four runs in the sixth. Alex Verdugo got the rally started with a one-out single. Four pitches later, Devers came through with a game-tying, 414-foot RBI double to center field that had an exit velocity of 108.3 mph. Masataka Yoshida kept the inning alive by drawing a two-out walk off Turnbull, which simultaneously ended the righty’s day.
Following a Detroit pitching change that saw Jose Cisnero take over for Turnbull, Adam Duvall greeted the new reliever by crushing a 414-foot three-run shot to left-center field to break the tie. Duvall’s third big fly of the season, which had an exit velocity of 104.2 mph, gave Boston its first lead of the afternoon at 6-3.
From there, the Red Sox bullpen took over. In relief of Sale, Michigan native John Schreiber faced the minimum in the bottom of the sixth before making way for Chris Martin, who stranded one runner in a scoreless seventh inning. Ryan Brasier then danced his way around some trouble in the eighth to pave the way for Kenley Jansen in the ninth.
Jansen made quick work of the Tigers and sat down the side in order to pick up his first save in a Red Sox uniform. All told, Boston needed just two hours and 23 minutes to pick up a series-opening victory in Detroit.
Devers passes Pedroia on all-time homers list
Rafael Devers’ solo shot in the fourth inning was the 141st of his major-league career. The 26-year-old has passed Dustin Pedroia and is now in sole possession of 19th place on the Red Sox’ all-time home run list.
Duvall makes history
With three more RBIs on Thursday, Adam Duvall now has 12 on the season. According to director of baseball communications and media relations J.P. Long, the 12 RBIs are the most ever by a player in their first six games as a member of the Red Sox.
Next up: Off day Friday, Houck starts Saturday with chance to win series
The Red Sox and Tigers will enjoy an off day on Friday before resuming this three-game series on Saturday afternoon. Right-hander Tanner Houck is slated to make his second start of the year for Boston in the middle game opposite left-hander Joey Wentz for Detroit.
First pitch from Comerica Park is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Rafael Devers: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)