Rapid Reaction: Tigers 7, Red Sox 3

May, 31, 2012
5/31/12
10:50
PM ET



BOSTON -- The Detroit Tigers defeated the Boston Red Sox 7-3 Thursday night at Fenway Park to avoid a potential four-game sweep.

Red Sox starter Josh Beckett worked seven innings and allowed four runs on 10 hits with one walk and only one strikeout. He tossed 102 pitches (67 for strikes).

His teammates gave him a 2-0 cushion in the bottom of the second inning, which included a solo home run by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The round-tripper was his 10th of the season.

Detroit, however, pushed across three runs in the top of the third, before the Sox added one more in the bottom half of the inning. The Tigers then scored one run in the fifth inning.

Beckett entered his 10th start of the season having given up only three runs in his previous three starts (21 2/3 innings) combined. Beckett struggled early on Thursday, but was able to get through seven full innings before handing it off to the bullpen with the Tigers holding a 4-3 lead.

Detroit increased its lead to 5-3 in the top of the eighth inning when Delmon Young crushed a solo home run off Red Sox reliever Franklin Morales. Prince Fielder added a RBI triple in the top of the ninth inning off reliever Rich Hill for a 6-3 lead. It was Fielder's 10th career triple.

The Tigers weren't done.

Young finished off a solid 3-for-5 night at the plate with a RBI single to give the Tigers a 7-3 advantage.

In the end, Boston's explosive offense of late wasn't active enough and the Tigers were able to leave Fenway with the one victory.

DEFENSIVE GEM: Red Sox right fielder Ryan Sweeney turned in the defensive play of the game in the top of the second inning. With one out, the game scoreless and runners on second and third, the Tigers' Jhonny Peralta lifted a high fly ball down the right-field line, dangerously close to the wall. In an all-out sprint, Sweeney made it to the wall, made the catch and threw a bullet to the plate to double-up Detroit's Delmon Young, who was attempting to tag from third. If Adrian Gonzalez was playing right, that ball likely would have dropped in and the Tigers would have scored.

REHAB: Daisuke Matsuzaka made another rehab start for the Pawtucket Red Sox on Thursday night. He went 5 1/3 innings and allowed one run (home run) on two hits with zero walks and four strikeouts against Norfolk (Baltimore) at McCoy Stadium. He tossed 76 pitches (51 for strikes). The right-hander has allowed only one run on three hits in his past two starts for the PawSox. Since the Red Sox are traveling to Toronto this weekend, Matsuzaka will remain in Pawtucket and throw his normal bullpen session there.

SMOKED: It's not too often you see a catcher leave the game with a nasty gash on his face, but that's what happened to the Tigers' Alex Avila in the bottom of the third inning. Ryan Sweeney was batting when he fouled a ball directly back and off Avila's mask. The catcher dropped to his knees and was immediately tended to by a team trainer. Avila was removed for precautionary reasons and had a cut on the bridge of his nose. He was examined at Fenway and fortunately showed no signs of a concussion.

EJECTED: During this series, the Tigers had manager Jim Leyland, third-base coach Gene Lamont and first-base coach Tom Brookens all ejected. Leyland and Lamont were both tossed in Monday's game and Brookens was ejected Thursday.

UP NEXT: The Red Sox head north of the border to face the Toronto Blue Jays in a three-game series beginning Friday night at Rogers Centre. Boston will have Clay Buchholz (4-2, 7.19 ERA) on the mound to face Jays right-hander Henderson Alvarez (3-4, 3.56). Game 2 of the series on Saturday will feature Sox lefty Felix Doubront (5-2, 3.86) against Toronto righty Kyle Drabek (4-5, 4.55). The series finale on Sunday will feature Boston right-hander Daniel Bard (5-5, 4.56) against Jays righty Drew Hutchison (4-2, 4.84).

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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