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Red Sox 2, Tigers 1: Red Sox win a game! (Actually!)


Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox won a game!

I mean it. 2-1 over the Tigers. In the eleventh. It happened. Justin Masterson got the win.

No, seriously! Not a joke! I know, I know, that's about the most improbable possible description, but when you're talking about breaking an eight-game losing streak that spans two weeks, well, sometimes you need the improbable to happen.

The first improbable event: a strong Rick Porcello start completely bereft of homers.  Not only was Rick Porcello's night productive, but it was actually impressive, unlike Wade Miley's shaky-but-stingy start against Houston. Throwing strike after strike, Porcello forced the Tigers to beat him, and they just never did. It wasn't the sort of ground ball party the Red Sox were expecting when they got him from Detroit, but it was plenty good enough.

The only run the Tigers would score against Porcello came in the third, the product of a leadoff double from Jose Iglesias. But beyond that, the Tigers didn't really even threaten to do damage. Porcello allowed only four baserunners besides Iglesias, all on singles, and with one erased by a double play. The Tigers had some decent contact, but with Porcello simply avoiding the home run is achievement enough, and he had a tidy six strikeouts to his name in seven innings of work as well.

Unfortunately for Porcello, that was not enough to earn him a win as the Red Sox lineup continued to struggle as they have since the All-Star break. Justin Verlander, who has been about as bad as Porcello this season, was good for seven straight outs to start the game before Shane Victorino broke the trend with a soft single in the bottom of the third. Pitching out of the stretch, Verlander ran into some more trouble, allowing singles to Ryan Hanigan and Brock Holt to bring home the tying run, but he kept the Sox from adding a second.

The Sox would hit into two double plays over the next three innings to keep the pressure off Verlander, allowing Detroit's starter to get them into the ninth before having to go to their bullpen. The Red Sox, meanwhile turned to Junichi Tazawa for a scoreless eighth, and Koji for the ninth.

Uehara would have to get the Red Sox two innings as the lineup wasted a leadoff single from Xander Bogaerts in the ninth. And, after a 1-2-3 tenth from Bruce Rondon, the Sox were facing the terrifying prospect of Justin Masterson taking the mound. And it nearly did end in disaster, with Masterson putting runners on first and second with one out. But a poorly-timed hit-and-run call led to Victor Martinez striking out and Ian Kinsler being thrown out at third to end the threat.

Finally, in the bottom of the eleventh, the Sox found their run. And it wasn't even particularly flashy, either. Mookie Betts drew a leadoff walk against Blaine Hardy, Brock Holt laid down the sacrifice bunt, and Xander Bogaerts drove him in by reaching out and slapping a single up the middle. The celebrations would be met by a challenge from Brad Ausmus, but it was little more than a desperation move with the replay showing Mookie sliding in clearly ahead of the tag.

Two weeks later, the nightmare is finally over. The damage is done, and irreparable, but at least we have proof of concept: the Red Sox are still capable of winning a game.