Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 6, Tigers 3
May, 29, 2012
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- If the Red Sox are going to have to play without Dustin Pedroia for the forseeable future, this wasn't a bad way to start.
Without their beating heart, the Sox still knocked around Detroit's Justin Verlander, the reigning Best Pitcher in Baseball, who gave up 10 hits for only the eighth time in his career, and just the fifth time since the start of the 2007. He also allowed five earned runs, the most he has surrendered to the Sox since Aug. 16, 2006, when he also gave up five runs during an outing in which he walked seven.
Daniel Nava hit a 100 m.p.h. fastball from Verlander for a three-run double in the third, David Ortiz had two doubles off Verlander and a home run off reliever Duane Below, and Daniel Bard limited the Tigers to two runs on five hits -- including solo home runs by Jhonny Peralta and Prince Fielder -- before handing off the final 3 2/3 innings to the bullpen, with Alfredo Aceves working the ninth for his 12th save.
And finally, on their sixth try, the Sox crossed the .500 threshold, winning for the 13th time in the last 18 games to raise their record to 25-24.
Bard also profited from some superb defensive play by Sox outfielders. Ryan Sweeney made a sliding catch in the second, then a twisting, running catch toward the wall in right with two on in the third. Center fielder Scott Podsednik ran down a ball in the gap for the final out of the second.
Now the Red Sox will be faced with the challenge of maintaining those winning ways without Pedroia, who was revealed to have been playing with a jammed right thumb for the last three weeks and aggravated the condition on his last at-bat Monday, when he popped out on an inside fastball.
The Red Sox claimed they were waitiing on the results of Pedroia's MRI, which was administered early Tuesday, before furnishing any further information on Pedroia's condition, but a trip to the disabled list seemed likely. Pedroia would become the 17th Red Sox player to be placed on the DL this season, and sixth starting position player, joining Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Cody Ross, Sweeney and Kevin Youkilis.
Pedroia missed 85 games in 2010 after fracturing the navicular bone in his foot, an injury that ultimately required surgery. In 2010, Youkilis had tried to play through a thumb injury until an MRI determined he had a torn abductor muscle, which required surgery and ended his season in early August.
Nick Punto played second base in Pedroia's absence Tuesday, the Sox playing short-handed until they determined whether Pedroia would need to go on the DL. Shortstop Jose Iglesias would figure to be a candidate to replace Pedroia on the roster, but he has missed the last few games in Pawtucket with injury issues that reportedly included a sore wrist. Pedro Ciriaco is another possibility.
Ortiz's double off the Monster in the second led to Boston's first run, as Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed one out later with a single, his first hit in 10 lifetime at-bats against Verlander. Detroit's failure to turn a double play produced a run, as Mike Aviles hustled down the line and was ruled to have beaten the throw.
Singles by Youkilis, Aviles and Podsednik loaded the bases with one out in the fourth. Punto popped out softly to short, but Nava ran the count full before hammering a 100 m.p.h. fastball to left with all three runners on the move.
Adrian Gonzalez singled and scored on Ortiz's gap double in the fifth, and Ortiz hit one into the first row of Monster seats off Below in the seventh.
A 38-minute rain delay that began with one out in the bottom of the eighth emptied the ballpark of most of the crowd of 37,216, the few remaining souls rewarded for their devotion by a Pedroia-like diving stop by Punto to end the game.