The Detroit Tigers are rolling along, considering wins are even coming easy at Fenway Park, a place which has given Detroit fits more than most stadiums historically. Saturday night, the Tigers beat the Red Sox 6-1 to win their tenth consecutive road game and establish themselves as the best team in baseball.
With the hot Rick Porcello on the mound, chances were Detroit would be given an excellent opportunity thanks to their starting pitching. Much like they had done the night before, the Tigers got things rolling quick in the second offensively, loading the bases and plating a run thanks to a fielder's choice by Alex Avila. Miguel Cabrera then blasted a home run around the Pesky Pole for a 2-0 lead in the third, and Detroit had already managed to expand upon the previous night's tenuous lead.
Porcello dominated on the hill, pitching around only a hint of trouble in the fourth thanks to a shallow single by David Ortiz and a walk. Detroit gave him some more support in the fifth on a pair of doubles by Ian Kinsler and Torii Hunter, and the Tigers led 3-0. A Cabrera single later, and the margin was pushed one run higher. Boston's anemic offense was facing the pressure.
In spite of a Xander Bogaerts home run in the sixth to put a run on the board, they wilted, allowing Porcello to hang in for eight strong innings. The Red Sox went down 1-2-3 in the sixth, seventh and eighth, while Detroit would tack on two more runs via a Rajai Davis double and a Kinsler sacrifice fly. While Porcello was stronger as the game wore on, John Lackey was chased.
Phil Coke got the call for mop up duty in the bottom of the ninth inning, and put a surprisingly quick bow on things by getting the Red Sox to go quietly into the night without so much as a single late confidence run.
Top Tiger: Miguel Cabrera. A 3-5 night with two RBI's and a home run was very impressive for Detroit's slugger, who's now hitting .305 on the season. Just a few weeks ago, many were worried about Cabrera considering his modest start and production. Now, whatever critics were lingering have quieted down as Cabrera begins his assault on the American League hitting statistics.
Bungling Bengal: None. Besides the scuffling Andrew Romine, every Tiger in the lineup had a hit, Porcello collected his seventh win and the bullpen collected a breather at Fenway Park, a place they can usually expect to get taxed. In short, it was a good night.
The Turning Point: With two runners on in the third, Boston fails to score. Detroit was clinging to a 2-0 lead, and the Red Sox needed anything to go right on the scoreboard to feel better about themselves. Instead, after Porcello had managed to put a few runners on, he wiggled off the hook with one of his patented ground balls and induced a lineout to keep Boston off the board. Mentally, that was huge, and as the game wore on, the Tigers would extend their lead. That might not have happened if the Red Sox had managed to scratch across a run.
Stat Of The Game: 8, the number of innings pitched by Rick Porcello. The youngster has certainly turned over a new leaf in 2014, considering in the past, the pitcher was rarely able to give the team eight innings. At one point, Porcello had mowed down 11 consecutive Red Sox in Fenway Park, a tough place to pitch a quality game. An impressive feat, no doubt.
Quote To Note: "We got four more games and we need to finish strong." –Miguel Cabrera. After the game, Cabrera spoke about not resting on any laurels, even in spite of the fact that the team is off to a hot start and has already had a fantastic road trip with an undefeated record thus far. This kind of mindset will help keep a team having immeasurable amounts of success incredibly grounded at an important time.
What's Next: Detroit looks for the sweep against Boston on Sunday Night Baseball. Jake Peavy (1-1) will be opposed by Anibal Sanchez, who makes his return from the disabled list.. The game will begin at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
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