Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. belted a two-run homer off reliever Alex Wilson with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to send the Tigers to a 5-3 defeat on Friday night at Fenway Park.
Wilson entered the game with a one-run lead, but his throwing error placed a runner into scoring position and allowed Red Sox cleanup hitter Mitch Moreland to tie the game with an RBI single.
Three batters later, Wilson faced Bradley Jr., who blasted a fastball to the right-field seats.
Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann gave up two earned runs in 6.0 innings and Shane Greene threw a scoreless frame as the Tigers led 3-2 entering the eighth.
Miguel Cabrera and Ian Kinsler went 0-for-5. Cabrera struck out a season-high four times, the most since April 19, 2016 (at Kansas City) and matches a career-high.
Nick Castellanos and Mike Mahtook hit solo home runs for the Tigers and J.D. Martinez went 3-for-4 with a double.
Top 9: Kimbrel slams door
Boston closer Craig Kimbrel fanned Ian Kinsler (0-for-5) and Miguel Cabrera (0-for-5, four strikeouts) to end the game.
In 28.0 innings at Fenway Park, Kimbrel has not allowed a run. He’s struck out 48.
Bottom 8: Bradley Jr. two-out homer gives Red Sox lead
Jackie Bradley Jr. belted a two-out, two-run homer off Tigers reliever Alex Wilson to give the Red Sox a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth.
The Tigers led 3-2 entering the inning. But Wilson's throwing error followed by yet another damaging hit from Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland tied the game, then Bradley Jr. struck for his eighth homer of the year.
The inning started with a leadoff single by Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, whose blooper fell in front of Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez, who had to make a long run on the play.
Bogaerts advanced to second when Wilson's pickoff attempt hit Bogaerts in the leg and scooted into foul territory.
Moreland (3-for-4, solo homer) followed with an RBI single to right field.
Andrew Benintendi (1-for-4) and Hanley Ramirez (0-for-3) flied out, then Bradley Jr. homered to right field.
Top 8: Iglesias caught stealing
Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias (3-for-4) hit a two-out, infield single. But the inning ended when he was thrown out trying to steal second base by Boston catcher Sandy Leon.
The Tigers lead 3-2 entering the bottom of the eighth.
Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes threw a scoreless inning in the top of the eighth. He struck out Alex Presley and James McCann (0-for-4).
Presley entered the game to bat for Mikie Mahtook (solo homer in fourth inning).
Iglesias has a three-hit game for the seventh time this season.
Bottom 7: Greene throws goose egg
Shane Greene took the mound in the seventh inning and gave up a two-out double to Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts, but escaped without giving up a run.
The Tigers lead 3-2 entering the top of the eighth.
Greene induced an inning-ending ground out from Dustin Pedroia (0-for-4).
Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann gave up two earned runs in 6.0 innings.
Zimmermann struck out three and walked three in six innings. That’s back-to-back effective starts for Zimmermann, who gave up 11 homers in five May starts but appears to have found a groove.
Greene has thrown a scoreless outing in 12 of his past 13 appearances, entering tonight.
Top 7: Kelly throws another scoreless frame
Tigers DH Victor Martinez (2-for-2, two singles) drew a one-out walk in the top of the seventh, but Red Sox right-handed reliever Joe Kelly threw a scoreless frame, an ongoing trend since May 1.
The Tigers lead 3-2 entering the bottom of the seventh.
Kelly reached 100 m.p.h. on the radar gun and struck out two during the inning. He has struck out 15 batters in his past 13.0 innings dating back to May 1.
After Martinez singled, Kelly struck out J.D. Martinez (3-for-4) and induced a fielder's choice from Justin Upton.
Miguel Cabrera (0-for-4) struck out for the third time of the night. That’s the third time this season he’s struck out three times in a game (twice vs. Boston).
Cabrera is now 2-for-19 against the Red Sox this year.
Bottom 6: Zimmermann strikeout end threat
The Red Sox posed danger when cleanup hitter Mitch Moreland doubled to lead off the sixth inning, but Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann got out of the jam.
The Tigers lead 3-2 after six innings.
Moreland advanced to third base on a ground out by Andrew Benintendi.
But from there, Zimmermann induced a ground out from Hanley Ramirez and then used a 93-mph, four-seam fastball to strike out Jackie Bradley Jr. and end the threat.
Zimmermann has struck out three and walked three in six innings. He’s thrown 94 pitches.
Top 6: Iglesias singles, but nothing happens
Jose Iglesias (2-for-3) battled Red Sox reliever Heath Hembree in a nine-pitch at-bat that ended with a single, but the Tigers could not produce a run.
The Tigers lead 3-2 entering the bottom of the sixth.
Ian Kinsler (0-for-4) flied out and Nick Castellanos (1-for-4, solo homer) struck out to end the inning.
The Tigers have 10 hits tonight for the seventh time in the past eight games.
Bottom 5: Double play helps Zimmermann
Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts led off the bottom of the fifth with a single against Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann.
Betts presented danger as the Tigers held on to a 3-2 lead. He entered tonight second in the American League with an 85.4 stolen base success rate (35-for-41) since the start of 2016.
But Zimmermann induced a double play from Dustin Pedroia, who hit a grounder to Jose Iglesias to start a 6-4-3 double play. Xander Bogaerts flied out to end the inning.
Zimmermann has given up five hits and two earned runs in five innings. He’s walked three and struck out two on 80 pitches.
Zimmermann has not thrown more than 6.0 innings in a start this year.
Top 5: Tigers squander J.D. double
The Tigers squandered a chance in the top of the fifth as they cling to a 3-2 lead at Fenway Park against the Red Sox.
Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez doubled off Red Sox right-handed reliever Heath Hembree. The Tigers had runners on second and third with one out.
Two pitches later, they were out of the inning.
The mild threat started when Tigers DH Victor Martinez hit a rare infield single with one out to end the night for Red Sox rookie LHP Brian Johnson.
From there, Hembree (3.58 ERA) came in to face J.D. Martinez, who doubled to put runners on second and third with one out. But Hembree retired Justin Upton (pop out) and Mike Mahtook (ground out).
Johnson gave up eight hits in 4.1 innings.
Mahtook appeared to be safe at first base, but Ausmus could not challenge the play since he lost a challenge earlier in the game.
Bottom 4: Red Sox strike twice in fourth
Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann gave up one hit in the opening three innings, but struggled in the bottom of the fourth.
Red Sox cleanup hitter Mitch Moreland led off with a solo homer and Jackie Bradley Jr. hit an RBI single to cut the Tigers lead to 3-2.
Moreland’s home run sailed past the outstretched arm of Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez. The home run ball was in a strikingly similar spot to where David Ortiz hit his infamous grand slam in Game 2 of the 2013 ALCS that caused Torii Hunter to flip over the wall.
From there, Andrew Benintendi singled, Hanley Ramirez walked and Bradley Jr. singled (Ramirez was out at third on the play).
Zimmermann (66 pitches) faced Pablo Sandoval with runners on first and second and one out. But Tigers second basemen Ian Kinsler stayed with a sharp grounder off his midsection to start a 4-6-3 double play.
Zimmermann gave up three hits and two walks in the fourth inning.
Top 4: Mahtook blasts solo HR
Tigers centerfielder Mikie Mahtook belted a solo homer into the seats above the Green Monster at historic Fenway Park.
The Tigers lead the Red Sox 3-0 in the top of the fourth.
Mahtook's blast was 420 feet. It's his second homer in the past four games.
Mahtook, if you recall, hit a pinch hit RBI double on April 7 against the Red Sox at Comerica Park. It tied the game in the eighth inning. That was the first pinch hit of his career.
In tonight's fourth inning, Jose Iglesias hit a one-out bloop single and Ian Kinsler flied out to deep center field.
From there, Nick Castellanos hit a grounder to third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who bobbled the ball, then turned and threw to first base. Castellanos was ruled out by the umpire. The Tigers challenged the call, and after a lengthy review, the call stood: out at first base.
Bottom 3: Zimmermann throws 8-pitch inning
Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann needed just eight pitches to get out of the third inning.
Zimmermann has given up one hit through three innings as the Tigers lead 2-0 at Fenway Park against the Red Sox. He’s struck out two and walked one.
In the third, Zimmermann induced three straight groundouts from Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts.
The lone single Zimmermann has allowed was a sharp line drive from Bogaerts in the first inning.
Top 3: Johnson's pitch count rises
The Tigers posed a threat with two outs in the top of the third, courtesy of Victor Martinez (walk) and J.D. Martinez (infield single). But Justin Upton grounded out to end the frame.
The Tigers lead 2-0 entering the bottom of the third at Fenway Park against the Red Sox.
Boston rookie LHP Brian Johnson escaped the third inning without yielding a run. But yet again, he endured a lengthy battle to get out of the frame and has now thrown 72 pitches.
Johnson started the top of the third by retiring Nick Castellanos (line out) and Miguel Cabrera (strikeout). But Tigers DH Victor Martinez drew a walk on an eight-pitch at-bat. (In the second inning, Johnson needed 12 pitches to retire Ian Kinsler.)
Bottom 2: Another error for Castellanos
Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos committed his 12th error of the season (the most in the majors at his position), but starter Jordan Zimmermann retired three straight Red Sox hitters to escape damage.
The Tigers lead 2-0 after two innings.
Zimmermann has struck out two and walked one tonight.
Boston's Hanley Ramirez reached base on Castellanos' error to leadoff the second inning. But Zimmermann struck out Red Sox centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and retired catcher Sandy Leon (fly out) and Pablo Sandoval (ground out).
The Tigers earned their runs in the first inning. Castellanos belted a solo homer and Justin Upton hit an RBI single.
Top 2: Kinsler battles Johnson
Red Sox rookie LHP Brian Johnson needed 12 pitches to retire Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, and has now thrown 47 pitches through two innings.
The Tigers lead 2-0 after the top of the second inning.
Tigers catcher James McCann had his first at-bat upon returning from the disabled list and displayed the rusty effects of missing time: He hit a slow grounder to third base. Jose Iglesias flied out and Kinsler fouled off five straight pitches until he was finally retired.
The Red Sox relievers have thrown the least amount of innings in the American League, but at this rate, they will be needed considering Johnson’s pitch count.
Bottom 1: Zimmermann absorbs liner
Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann survived a scare when he absorbed a sharp line drive off the leg, and then managed to pitch a scoreless frame.
The Tigers lead 2-0 after the first inning.
Zimmermann walked Red Sox leadoff hitter Mookie Betts and then gave up a one-out single to Xander Bogaerts, who belted a line drive off Zimmermann.
Zimmermann, however, stayed in the game after the Tigers trainers visited the mound. From there, he managed to induce a fielder’s choice from Mitch Moreland, then he struck out Andrew Benintendi to end the inning.
Dustin Pedroia (.292), who returned from a brief stint on the disabled list, managed to pop out during the inning.
Top 1: Castellanos hits solo HR
The Tigers struck in the first inning with two runs and erased the hopes of Boston rookie LHP Brian Johnson throwing another complete game shutout.
Nick Castellanos belted a solo homer and Justin Upton had an RBI single to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Castellanos, who's batting second, belted the first pitch he saw to the right center field seats.
With two outs in the inning, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez hit back-to-back singles, then Upton followed with another single.
Castellanos and Upton each have recorded a hit in eight straight games.
Johnson needed 27 pitches to get out of the first inning.
Red Sox rookie seeks another gem
Red Sox rookie LHP Brian Johnson (2-0, 2.57 ERA) takes the mound hoping to mimic his sensational Fenway Park debut on May 27. That’s when Johnson threw a complete game shutout in his first career Fenway Start, the first rookie to accomplish the feat for the franchise since Pedro Martinez in 1998. Johnson had eight strikeouts and no walks against Seattle.
Tonight, he will face a Tigers offense that’s averaged 12.1 hits in its past seven games. The top of the first inning will start with Ian Kinsler (.249), Nick Castellanos (.230) and Miguel Cabrera (.271).
Zimmermann faces Red Sox
The Tigers open a three-game series Friday with the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Follow along here for live updates.
Tigers at Red Sox
First pitch: 7:10 tonight
TV/radio: FSD, 97.1
Starters: Tigers, RHP Jordan Zimmermann (5-4, 5.98); Red Sox, LHP Brian Johnson (2-0, 2.57)
Records: Tigers are 29-30, in third place and 2.5 games behind the first-place Twins in the AL Central. The Red Sox are 32-27, in second place and 3 games behind the Yankees in the AL East.
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Nick Castellanos, 3B
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. J.D. Martinez, RF
6. Justin Upton, LF
7. Mikie Mahtook, CF
8. James McCann, C
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
Jordan Zimmermann, SP
1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. Xander Bogaerts, SS
4. Mitch Moreland, 1B
5. Andrew Benintendi, LF
6. Hanley Ramirez, DH
7. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
8. Sandy Leon, C
9. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Brian Johnson, SP