Mitch Talbot, Max Scherzer, and Rick Porcello have something in common.
Over the last three days, each of these pitchers has made their scheduled start against the Red Sox, and left the game before the fourth inning began.
The Red Sox did not put up fourteen runs again Friday--really, their tally of six looks a bit pedestrian by comparison--but they did start the game in very much the same manner as they did Wednesday and Thursday: with one big inning.
It was not the first as against the Indians, or the second as against Scherzer, but the third inning in which the Red Sox broke things open against Rick Porcello. After Jacoby Ellsbury scored on a wild pitch in the first, the Detroit Tigers answered with a pair of ground ball singles in the bottom of the inning and a loud home run in the second to leave the Sox trailing 2-1 entering the inning.
The deficit did not last long. Jacoby Ellsbury worked the count to 3-1, and on the fifth pitch of the frame, left the park for the sixth time to tie the game. And just like that, the Red Sox were off. Dustin Pedroia walked, Adrian Gonzalez singled on a sharp grounder off the mound and up the middle, and Kevin Youkilis doubled them both home on a fly ball to deep right field. Porcello would manage to get David Ortiz, but then it was Carl Crawford who, after a long battle at the plate, delivered the back-breaking blow to the young Detroit starter, digging out a 3-2 fastball for his third homer in five games. By the time the Tigers came up to bat, Porcello had thrown 75 pitches and was done for the night.
The Red Sox didn't keep it up as they had in the last couple of games, with Charlie Furbush shutting them down for five innings, but with Wakefield settling down and holding the Tigers scoreless for the next five frames, it hardly mattered. They did get some offense in on Jonathan Papelbon in a non-save situation, but it was hardly enough to make the Sox sweat--something they haven't done for nearly 27 innings now.
The Sox now have a 3-1 record in games started by Alfredo Aceves and Tim Wakefield, with the only loss coming because of Matt Albers' eighth inning meltdown against Chicago. Diasuke, Lackey, take your time.
As a final note, congratulations to the Boston Bruins and their fans here. As I've said before, I'm no hockey guy. But I'm by no means oblivious to what Bruins fans have lived through in my lifetime (born, as I was, less than two months after they were swept out of their last Finals appearance), seemingly culminating in three straight years of Game 7 losses. It's time for the Bruins and you fans out there to get your championship. Good luck!