It took all of four hours and 13 minutes, but after trading punches back and forth for 8 1/2 innings the Red Sox were able to come away with a series-clinching, 12-9 win over the Tigers at Fenway Park on Thursday.
Winning Thursday’s game was no easy task, as the two sides scored a total of 21 runs, notched a total of 30 hits, and committed a total of six errors while exchanging leads on six separate occasions.
Boston was ultimately able to come away with a drama-filled victory over Detroit, though, and they improved to 19-13 on the season because of it.
Hernandez injured injured in first inning
After leading the bottom of the first off with a hard-hit double off Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull, Enrique Hernandez would have to leave the game due to right hamstring tightness. He was replaced by Franchy Cordero.
Cordero would prove to play a pivotal role in a contest he did not even start. The outfielder came into the day in the midst of an 0-for-25 rut and wound up reaching base four times on an RBI double, a pair of singles, and a fielding error.
Early lead does not suffice
Cordero took over for Hernandez after the utilityman had advanced to third on an Alex Verdugo groundout in the first. J.D. Martinez then drove him in on an RBI single to give the Sox an early 1-0 lead.
Inserted into the leadoff spot, Cordero collected an RBI of his own in the second by plating Kevin Plawecki on an opposite field double to make it a 2-0 contest.
Rafael Devers and Plawecki doubled their side’s run total in the third on a pair of RBI singles, putting the Red Sox up 4-1.
At that point, Nathan Eovaldi — Thursday’s starter — had been rolling, allowing just one run to cross the plate over his first three innings of work.
The top half of the fourth, however, was a different story for the right-hander, as he gave up five hits in an inning that saw the Tigers bring across three runs of their own to knot things up at four runs apiece.
Back-and-forth in the middle innings
Eovaldi’s struggles continued in the fifth, as he yielded back-to-back leadoff singles before getting the hook in favor of Josh Taylor with one out in the inning.
Taylor allowed the lead runner he inherited to score on a wild pitch before allowing the second inherited runner to score on a run-scoring single off the bat of Niko Goodrum.
That gave the Tigers a 6-5 edge, and it closed the book on Eovaldi’s day. The 31-year-old hurler ended up getting tagged for six earned runs on seven hits, one walk, and five strikeouts over just 4 1/3 innings pitched. His ERA on the season now sits at 4.62.
Phillips Valdez allowed Detroit to double their lead in the sixth, but Boston answered back right away with Martinez ripping an RBI single and Devers lacing a two-run single up the middle to make it an 8-7 game.
Again, the Tigers responded by scoring two more runs over the seventh and eighth innings to go up 9-8.
Vazquez comes off the bench and delivers
Down to their final six outs, Devers — representing the tying run — led off the bottom half of the eighth by reaching on a fielding error. He would advance to second with two outs due to a wild pitch.
Plawecki then drew a six-pitch walk to put runners at first and second and was replaced by Christian Arroyo.
With the No. 9 hitter due up next, Christian Vazquez emerged from the Red Sox dugout to pinch-hit for the slumping Bobby Dalbec.
Fresh into the game, Vazquez came through with one of the biggest hits of the day by hitting a game-tying single off Tigers reliever Alex Lange to score Devers and make it a 9-9 contest.
Cordero followed suit by reaching on a fielding error committed by Jeimer Candelario that allowed Arroyo to score from third.
Now with a one-run lead in hand, Alex Verdugo provided some much-needed insurance with a two-run single off Gregory Soto to put the Sox up 12-9.
Ottavino picks up first save of the season
With Matt Barnes unavailable, fellow righty Adam Ottavino got the call for the ninth inning, worked his way around a leadoff walk, and retired the next three hitters he faced in order to preserve the 12-9 win and record his first save of the year.
Next up: On to Baltimore
The Red Sox will travel to Baltimore for a four-game weekend series at Camden Yards that commences on Friday night.
Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the ball for Boston in the opener, and he will be opposed by veteran right-hander Matt Harvey.
First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Franchy Cordero and Rafael Devers: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)