The Red Sox kicked off the final leg of their homestand with a series-opening win over the Tigers on Monday night. Boston defeated Detroit by a final score of 5-2 to improve to 37-31 on the season and 14-4 in the month of June.
In a pitching matchup that featured two rookie right-handers going at it, it was Josh Winckowski who prevailed over Alex Faedo.
Winckowski, making his third start of the year for the Sox, received some early scoring from his lineup and rode that to a second consecutive strong outing. The young righty allowed just two runs on seven hits and one walk to go along with two strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings of work.
The aforementioned early scoring came courtesy of J.D. Martinez right away in the first inning. After Jarren Duran drew a leadoff walk and stole second base, the former Tigers slugger drove in the speedster on an RBI single to give the Red Sox their first lead of the night.
Winckowski, meanwhile, issued a one-out walk to Riley Greene in the top of the second. That came back to bite him after Greene advanced to third on a Jeimer Candelario single and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Spencer Torkelson.
With things now tied up at 1-1, the Boston bats quickly got that run back in the bottom of the third on back-to-back doubles from Duran and Rafael Devers to lead off the inning. In the fourth, Trevor Story led off by reaching on a fielding error and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Christian Vazquez. In the fifth, Franchy Cordero capped off a three-hit night by plating Alex Verdugo and Story on a two-run single to center field.
Leading by four runs now, Winckowski consistently made quick work of Detroit’s lineup before running into some trouble in the seventh. There, Torkelson reached base via a two-out single and scored all the way from first on an RBI double from Jonathan Schoop that cut Boston’s lead down to three runs at 5-2.
Schoop would be the last batter Winckowski would face as he was lifted in favor of Jake Diekman. Of the 92 pitches Winckowski threw on Monday, 59 went for strikes. The 23-year-old induced five of his seven swings-and-misses with his slider and topped out at 95.5 mph with his sinker, a pitch he threw 36 times.
In relief of Winckowski, Diekman received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora and ended things in the seventh with some defensive help from Verdugo. Matt Strahm got the first two outs of the eighth before making way for John Schreiber, who worked his way around a Javy Baez double to keep the Tigers at two runs.
Taking a 5-2 lead into the ninth, Tanner Houck recorded his fifth save in as many opportunities while working on consecutive days for the first time in his major-league career.
All told, four different Red Sox relievers (Diekman, Strahm, Schreiber, and Houck) combined for 2 1/3 scoreless frames. Offensively, Cordero and Duran accounted for five of Boston’s nine hits. Neither Cordero, Duran, or Schreiber were on the club’s Opening Day roster back in April.
Next up: Hill vs. Brieske
The Red Sox will go for yet another series win over the Tigers on Tuesday night. Veteran left-hander will start for Boston while right-hander Beau Brieske will do the same for Detroit.
First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Paul Rutherford/Getty Images)