Detroit — Interesting matchup, right out of the gate after the All-Star break: Boston's David Price vs. Detroit's Matthew Boyd.
You might remember back in July of 2015, the Tigers traded Price to the Blue Jays for Boyd, Daniel Norris and Jairo Labourt.
Both left-handers were in good form — but let’s face it, Boyd’s task was tougher. He allowed one run and three hits in five-plus innings against the high-scoring Red Sox. But that one run was all Price and his bullpen mates would need.
Price pitched 6.1 innings of shutout baseball helping the Red Sox beat the Tigers, 1-0, at Comerica Park Friday night. It was the 13th time this season the Tigers have been shut out.
"We believe we can compete, but we just need to score some runs," said manager Ron Gardenhire. "That's a very good pitching staff over there and a great bullpen. They can do these things to you. They can also hit and we did a heckuva job shutting them down. That doesn't happen a lot.
"A lot of good things happened, but the bottom line is we lost and it doesn't feel good in that clubhouse right now. We need to win a ball game. We need to find a way to put the ball in play more and get more runs in."
The Tigers struck out 11 more times Friday. That's 239 in the last 31 games — and they are 10-21 over that span.
"We had opportunities," said Niko Goodrum, who had one of the Tigers' five hits. "But in baseball you don't always capitalize on all your chances. We are working every day. We're not trying to put zeros up there."
Goodrum came as close as any Tiger to scoring a run. He was stranded at third in the fourth inning — when the Tigers blew a bases-loaded, no-out chance — and he was thrown out at the plate in the eighth.
In the fourth, Goodrum held on a shallow fly out to left by John Hicks. He bluffed toward home but never broke — not even when left fielder Andrew Benintendi’s throw went up the third-base line past the catcher and toward the Tigers’ dugout.
"I just figured, let our guys hit with one out and a guy on third," he said.
Gardenhire said third base coach Dave Clark was telling Goodrum to go.
"He kind of froze," Gardenhire said. "Then he didn't pick up the ball. He stopped and didn't see the ball going all over the place."
Jeimer Candelario, the runner on second, expected Goodrum to run and he broke for third. He was just a few steps away when he noticed Goodrum still on the base and headed back to second.
Price ran the ball several steps toward second and his throw skipped, allowing Candelario to get back to second safely with a hard slide into Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt.
Holt was injured on the play — he left the game with a right knee contusion — and still Goodrum remained glued to third base.
Price buckled down, striking out James McCann and getting Victor Martinez to line out hard to right field.
The Tigers were presented a gift opportunity in the eighth and didn’t accept it.
Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes struck out the first two batters — but Goodrum reached on a wild pitch and then went to third when strike three on Candelario eluded catcher Sandy Leon.
But, again, no RBI hit. Goodrum was forced out at home on a grounder to third by Castellanos. Castellanos hustled to second on the rundown.
"He was going on contact," Gardenhire said. "We still got a runner to scoring position. It didn't work out, but we got the runner to second and we still had a chance."
Barnes walked Hicks and then struck out McCann, blowing a 97-mph fastball by him.
Craig Kimbrel closed it out for his 31st save.
"Their guy (Price) made good pitches," Gardenhire said. "He's been doing it for a long time. He's a great pitcher. He made good pitches, but we fouled some pitches off we could've hit.
"He made pitches when he had to, but we missed some pitches, again."
The only damage against Boyd came from three of the first four hitters he faced. Benintendi singled and former Tiger J.D. Martinez — after a long and warm ovation — walked with one out. A double by Steve Pearce scored Benintendi.
That was it. Boyd got two ground balls, forcing Martinez at the plate for the second out and Pearce at third for the final out. From there, Boyd cruised, striking out six and allowing only a walk through the fifth inning.
"That run in the first was the difference-maker," Boyd said. "You always want to win, that's the goal. And that first run was the deciding run; that's the way it shook out. Their guy (Price) threw really well.
"Hats off to what he did out there."
Boyd gave up another single to Benintendi in the sixth and made an errant throw to second on a possible double-play ball — ending his night.
But the Tigers bullpen shut the Red Sox down the rest of the game. Louis Coleman, Daniel Stumpf and Buck Farmer got them out of the sixth.
Victor Alcantara and All-Star Joe Jimenez also pitched scoreless innings.