The Red Sox got back to .500 with a series-clinching win over the Tigers on Saturday afternoon. Boston blew out Detroit by a final score of 14-5 at Comerica Park to improve to 4-4 on the season.
Matched up against Tigers starter Joey Wentz out of the gate, the Sox broke out for six runs in their half of the second inning. After loading the bases with two outs, Wentz issued back-to-back bases-loaded walks to the final two batters he would face in Connor Wong and Rob Refsnyder. Wentz was then given the hook in favor of right-hander Garrett Hill.
With a 2-0 lead already in hand, Rafael Devers greeted the new Tigers reliever by crushing a 356-foot opposite-field grand slam. The ball barely cleared the left-field fence as it left Devers’ bat at 102 mph and extended Boston’s lead to 6-0.
An inning later, the Red Sox again took advantage of ball four when Masataka Yoshida drew a leadoff walk off Hill. A red-hot Adam Duvall followed by unloading on a hanging sinker and depositing it 423 feet into the left field seats for his fourth home run of the season already. The two-run blast had an exit velocity of 109.8 mph and put Boston up, 8-0.
That is where the score would remain through 3 1/2 innings. Up until that point in the contest, Red Sox starter Tanner Houck had retired 8 of the first 10 batters he had faced. But the right-hander began to run into some trouble in the latter half of the fourth.
There, Houck yielded a leadoff walk to Riley Greene and a one-out single to Kerry Greene to put runners on the corners. Nick Maton then put the Tigers on the board with an RBI double to right field that plated Greene. Spencer Torkelson followed by driving in Carpenter on a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to six runs at 8-2.
Houck, for his part, got through the rest of the fourth unscathed and then sat down the side in order in the fifth to end his afternoon on a strong note. The 26-year-old hurler wound up allowing just the two earned runs on three hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts over five full innings of work. He threw 74 pitches (45 strikes), induced eight swings-and-misses, and was ultimately credited with the winning decision — his second in as many tries.
With Houck’s day done, Zack Kelly got the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Kelly, in turn, stranded two base runners in the sixth and tossed a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh. In between Kelly’s first and second frame of relief, Devers went deep for a second time off Tyler Alexander to make it a 9-2 game in the top of the seventh. Devers’ second big fly of the day and fourth of the season had an exit velocity of 110.3 mph and travelled 395 feet over the right field wall.
In the eighth, Alex Verdugo, Wong, and Refsnyder, tacked on three more runs to the Sox’ advantage with a trio of RBI singles. Following another scoreless inning of relief from Michigan native Kaleb Ort, Raimel Tapia hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run off Tigers second baseman Zack McKinstry in the top of the ninth.
Tapia’s first homer in a Red Sox uniform gave his side a commanding 14-2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth. Ryan Brasier surrendered three runs (two earned) on two hits, one walk, and an Enrique Hernandez throwing error before recording the third and final out to secure a 14-5 victory.
Duvall’s dominance continues
With two more RBIs on Saturday, Adam Duvall now has 14 through his first seven games of the season. Those 14 RBIs are the most ever by a player in their first seven games as a member of the Red Sox.
Duvall’s 10 extra-base hits are the most through seven game with Boston, surpassing Jose Offerman’s mark of nine in 1999.
Devers records first multi-homer game of season
By hitting two home runs on Saturday, Rafael Devers registered the 13th multi-homer game of his career. He now moves into a two-way tie with Vern Stephens for the 12th most multi-homer games in Red Sox history.
Next up: Crawford starts as Sox go for sweep
The Red Sox will go for a three-game sweep over the Tigers in Sunday’s series finale. Right-hander Kutter Crawford will take the mound for Boston while veteran left-hander Matthew Boyd will get the ball for Detroit.
First pitch from Comerica Park is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.
(Picture of Rafael Devers: Duane Burleson/Getty Images)