Boston Red Sox vs. Detroit Tigers Live Blog: Instant Reactions and Analysis
A resurgent John Lackey pitched Thursday night for the Red Sox and on the mound for the Tigers was rookie Jose Alvarez.
While both teams have steady holds on first place, neither had played well going into the game, playing .500 ball over their last 10 games.
Lackey was ineffective in 2011 and missed all of 2012 due to an arm injury, but his 2013 season has been exactly what the Sox hoped for when they signed him to a five-year deal before the 2010 season.
Though Lackey is 4-5 on the season, he carried a 3.08 ERA into this game and got off to a good start, holding the Tigers scoreless over the first four innings.
The 24-year-old Alvarez held the Cleveland Indians to just three hits and one run over six innings in his debut.
The small lefty made his second start in the big leagues, and early on he repeated the success of his first start, matching Lackey in holding the Sox scoreless in the first three innings.
Alvarez was unable to keep up with Lackey, though, as David Ortiz got to him for a leadoff home run in the fourth inning to start the scoring.
The Red Sox tacked on a run in the top of the fifth but a Torii Hunter bases loaded single in the bottom of the inning evened things up at two.
The game wasn't tied for long, though, as Ortiz came through again with a big RBI single to put the Sox ahead 3-2 in the eighth inning.
Andrew Bailey came on in the ninth to try to close it out, but he didn't even record an out. Bailey walked the leadoff man before Johnny Peralta hit a walk-off home run over the wall in left field.
Peralta has been one of the best hitters in the American League all season and he continued that in a huge win tonight.
On Friday night the series will continue as John Lester pitches for the Red Sox against Doug Fister of the Tigers.
Changes coming in the bullpen in Boston? I think so.
Tough loss for the Red Sox in a game where they had a definite pitching matchup advantage and a lead heading into the ninth.
Not a good way to start off this four game series if you're the Red Sox. Tomorrow they'll try to rebound as John Lester takes the mound against Doug Fister in what might be a great pitching duel.
Peralta hits a walk-off home run! Just like that, the Tigers win the game. Bailey hung a slider and Peralta's great season continues. Wow! What a finish.
And Bailey promptly walks the leadoff man. John Farrell has to be shaking his head.
NESN points out that Johnny Peralta has good career numbers against Bailey. Makes V-Mart a big batter for him.
Andrew Bailey will get a chance to close it out for the Sox in the bottom of the ninth. Will they be able to hold on to this one run lead?
This game will go down as a loss for the Tigers' bullpen if they can't come back, but they really have been pretty good save for a bad start to the eighth for Coke.
NESN providing an update on Clay Buchholz's health. He'll be back soon for the Sox and that can't come soon enough for this team. He's been one of the best pitchers in the game all year.
Fielder gives it a ride but Ellsbury runs it down and we'll head to the ninth with the Red Sox up 3-2.
Wow. Cabrera strikes out for the third time tonight. I wonder how many times he's done that this season.
If I'm the Red Sox, I just walk Cabrera here. He's too dangerous.
Koji Uehara in for the Red Sox.
Great job by Smyly to work out of that jam. Keeping this game close was huge with the meat of lineup due up in the bottom of the eighth. 3-2 lead for the Red Sox after seven and a half.
Drew Smyly on to face Mike Napoli in a big spot with two guys on.
David Ortiz is one of the most clutch players in the league. Can you think of anyone more clutch?
Single for Ortiz and Victorino scores. 3-2 Red Sox lead.
New game. Same old story for the Tigers.
And now Pedroia walks. Trouble again for the Tigers' bullpen.
Victorino walks to leadoff the eighth inning. Let's see if he tries to run and get into scoring position for the big guns behind him.
After seven, the score still tied at two.
This might be Lackey's last inning as he's nearing 100 pitches and the meat of the Tigers' lineup is coming up soon.
Prediction: This game won't last more than nine innings. These two bullpens struggle too much.
Leadoff single for Andy Dirks in the seventh. Good start for the Tigers
Coke gets Ellsbury swinging and after six and a half, still tied at two.
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