It’s never quite as easy for this team as it should be, is it? After waiting four hours for rain to clear, the Red Sox and Tigers finally got this game started a little after 8:00. The offense didn’t feel any ill-effects from the wait, though, being lifted by Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi to jump out to a 7-0 lead halfway through the fourth. Then, Rick Porcello started to struggle with a tough fourth inning and a brutal sixth to end up with another bad start. The bullpen had mixed results, but buckled down when it needed to in order to seal the victory.
You never really know what’s going to happen after a four-hour rain delay, you know? Baseball players are such creatures of habit and routine that throwing things off so drastically — and a four-hour delay is certainly drastic — can always have some weird effects. The most obvious effect is generally to the pitcher, who is just sitting around for so long waiting to get started. If you need proof of that, just look at what Jordan Zimmermann did on Saturday.
Granted, Zimmermann is not a good pitcher at this point in his career so an offense as hot as Boston’s getting to him early and often isn’t terribly surprising. However, this was not just a typical bad outing. The Tigers righty had absolutely nothing in this game and the Red Sox were hitting everything.
Mookie Betts finally stepped into the box at 8:15 to start this game (it was supposed to start at 4:10) and got things off to a big start with a triple off the wall in center field. At Comerica Park, that is an accomplishment and about as far as you can hit a ball in all of baseball without getting a homer. Rafael Devers came up next and hit a ground ball to second base, and two batters into the game Boston had a 1-0 lead. A couple of batters later with two outs, Andrew Benintendi came to the plate. He had gotten a couple of days off to become more “hitterish,” but was back on Saturday for his birthday. He certainly looked hitterish here as he gave Boston their second triple of the game. Michael Chavis then blooped one into right field for a base hit, and the Red Sox had two in the first.
They didn’t slow down any in the second, either. There, Brock Holt started the inning with a base hit ripped into right field, and Marco Hernandez followed it up with a single of his own. After Sandy León moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt, Betts came through with his second extra-base hit of the day. His double made it 4-0 Red Sox. Christian Vázquez then came up with two outs and put a base hit out into right-center field to push the lead to five. Benintendi did get a single after that to put two on, but Boston would settle for the three runs in the inning.
The offense was held scoreless in a third inning that did feature a pair of one-out singles, but then they got back into work in the fourth. Devers and Vázquez got things started quickly with a single and a double to put two on with nobody out, bringing Benintendi back to the plate. He’d hit what looked like a routine pop up out to left field, but Christin Stewart lost it in the lights and let it fall in. The Red Sox suddenly had a 6-0 lead with two in scoring position and still nobody out. They wouldn’t quite explode in that fourth like they could have, but they did get one more on a Brock Holt sacrifice fly to give them seven runs through four.
So, Zimmermann did not have a good time after waiting so long for this game to get started. On the other end, Rick Porcello looked a lot better. Of course, that’s not a very high bar and he was also going up against a much less accomplished offense. Still, he tore threw the Tigers early in this game. The righty got a 1-2-3 first inning before allowing an infield single and a walk but no runs in the second. He followed that up with another scoreless inning in the third.
The fourth, however, showed some signs of life from the Tigers that hadn’t been shown in this game to that point. Boston already had a 7-0 lead at this point, which was big because Porcello started to get hit hard. Stewart got things started with a hard-hit single through the middle, bringing Jeimer Candelario to the plate. The third baseman got a 1-2 slider that hung and stayed middle-in, being launched into the foul pole in right field for a two-run shot. Harold Castro then followed that up with a triple out to center field, and Detroit seemed to be ready to roll. Porcello calmed down after that, though, getting three straight outs and leaving the runner at third. He came back out looking better in the fifth, too, tossing a big perfect inning to allow him to come back out for the sixth.
That sixth inning did not go well, though, and it allowed the Tigers to get back in this game. After Stewart struck out to open the frame, Candelario came back to the plate and did the same thing he did in the fourth. That is to say he blasted a home run, making it a 7-3 game. Castro then got a base hit and Gordon Beckham put two on with two outs with a single of his own. Bobby Wilson was up at the plate now, and Porcello couldn’t put him away. Instead, after a wild pitch put both runners in scoring position, Detroit’s catcher singled home both runs and suddenly this was a two-run game.
That ended Porcello’s night, and Colten Brewer was on to try and get out of this inning with the lead still in hand. He didn’t get off to a great start, as Victor Reyes hit a fly ball out towards the left field corner. Benintendi just missed making the diving catch, and the result was an RBI triple to make it a 7-6 lead with the tying run at third for Nicholas Castellanos. Mercifully, Brewer got a big strikeout to end the inning, but it was a brand new ballgame.
So, the Red Sox were suddenly looking for key insurance runs in the top half of the seventh. With the left-handed Daniel Stumpf in to pitch for Detroit, Eduardo Núñez came in to pinch hit for Brock Holt. I’ve made my feelings on this pretty clear so I won’t re-hash that, but it didn’t work as he grounded out. They did get something going after that, though, with a bloop single from Marco Hernandez followed by an error to allow León to reach. Betts then drew a walk, loading the bases for Devers. It looked like he’d squandered the chance with a ground ball back to the mound, but Tigers pitcher Buck Farmer panicked after a brief bobble and his throw home was way off target. That let one run score and kept the bases loaded with still just one down. They’d only get the one, though, as Vázquez grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The bottom of the seventh belonged to Josh Taylor. He did not get off to a good start, allowing back-to-back singles to start the inning. After getting a strikeout for his first out, he allowed yet another single to load the bases for Niko Goodrum. Taylor got a big ground ball back to the mound, and while he bobbled it he made the play at home to prevent the run. That also ended his night, with Matt Barnes coming on with the bases loaded and two outs. The righty came through with a three-pitch strikeout to end the inning.
After the Red Sox added another in the top of the eighth to make it a three-run game, Brandon Workman came on for the bottom of the inning. He got the job done with a perfect inning. Another run was added to the cushion in the ninth before Steven Wright allowed a couple of baserunners but no runs in the ninth to finish off the 10-6 win.
The Red Sox and Tigers will be back on action (hopefully on time) on Sunday for the final day of baseball before the All-Star break. Boston will send David Price to the mound while the Tigers have not yet announced a starter. First pitch is at 1:10 PM ET.