J.D. Martinez, Red Sox get their payback with 11-4 thrashing of Tigers
Boston — Ron Gardenhire didn't want this one to fester, so he had a brief message for his players after they tromped back into the clubhouse.
"I told them, 'We've won two out of three in Boston and we have a chance to win three out of four tomorrow,' " the Tigers manager said. " 'So forget about this one. It's over with. We've got a chance to win three out of four here; let's do it.' "
The defending champs came to eat Wednesday.
After losing both ends of Tuesday's doubleheader — the first time they’ve done that since 2015 and the first time they've done it at home against the Tigers since 1965 — and falling to 9-15 on the season, the Red Sox had a little fire in their belly.
They attacked starter Tyson Ross early and cruised to an 11-4 win over the Tigers.
"Ross didn't give up a lot," Gardenhire said. "They nicked him here and there. That's a good-hitting team. But he battled. He didn't cave in, by any means."
It started with with former Tigers slugger J.D. Martinez. He had a rough day Tuesday. He went 1-for-8 in the doubleheader, hit into a couple of double plays and struck out four times.
You didn’t figure he would stay cold.
He didn’t. He singled and scored in his first at-bat, starting a two-run inning for the Red Sox.
In his second at-bat he hit a shot down the third-base line, exit velocity of 104.5 mph. The ball ate up third baseman Jeimer Candelario and went into the corner with so much force it lodged into a gate.
Left fielder Niko Goodrum had a hard time dislodging it. Martinez ran all the way around the bases, but he was sent back to second base — ground-rule double.
Third time up, Martinez capped another two-run burst with an RBI single. Mookie Betts drove home the first run of the inning, knocking one off the Green Monster in left that scored Andrew Benintendi from first.
"I've got to be better than that," Ross said. "I had a two-out walk in the second inning and a one-out walk in the fifth, and that led to three of the four runs. I've got to be better pounding the strike zone."
Ross has pitched effectively this season when he blends an equal mix of his three pitches — cutter, four-seamer and slider. Against the Red Sox, though, he was cutter-heavy. Of his 98 pitches, 47 were cutters.
There was a reason for that.
"The game plan today was, if they're not chasing the slider, they can do damage against it in the strike zone," Ross said. "So we were trying to move the fastball around and use both sides of the plate with that.
"If they started chasing the slider at any point, I would've gone to it heavily. But they did a good job laying off it."
The Red Sox had been aggressive on Tuesday, and the Tigers thought they might be again.
"I thought his slider had good action on it but they weren't biting," catcher Grayson Greiner said. "It was down, below the zone, and they weren't biting. Credit to them. They were patient. They took some tough pitches."
The result, though, was a lot of healthy hacks by the Red Sox hitters. Seven of the 16 balls they put in play against Ross left the bat with an exit velocity of 100 mph or faster. The average exit velocity on balls in play was 94.4.
He ended up allowing seven hits and three walks. Two of the three walked batters scored.
There would be more, but those four runs were plenty.
The Tigers mustered just two hits over six innings against Red Sox lefty starter Eduardo Rodriguez. The lone run came in the sixth when Candelario doubled, advanced to third on a long fly out to center by Miguel Cabrera and scored on a sacrifice fly by Niko Goodrum.
That was it. The only other offensive highlight for the Tigers when the game was close was an eighth-inning single by Cabrera. It extended his hitting streak to 10 games, his longest since 2016. It was also the 2,700th hit of his career.
They scored three runs in the ninth after they were in an 11-1 hole — RBI single by Nick Castellanos and two-run double by Dustin Peterson.
"You just keep battling and keep fighting," Greiner said. "Everyone has these days."
Rodriguez struck out seven and got 18 swinging strikes — eight with his four-seam fastball. The Tigers offered little push-back against the Red Sox bullpen, either. Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes struck out the side in the seventh and eighth innings.
Tigers hitters struck out 14 times and swung and missed 27 times.
The ugliness happened in the eighth inning when the the Red Sox scored seven times with just three hits. It started with Tigers' left-hander Jose Fernandez, called up from Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday to replace the injured Blaine Hardy.
He allowed an RBI single to Christian Vazquez and an RBI double to Benintendi, before leaving a bases-loaded, one-out mess for Drew VerHagen.
VerHagan struck out Martinez, but he walked Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and Michael Chavis to force in three more runs.
"It was just a bad inning for (VerHagen)," Gardenhire said. "He's healthy. He says he's fine. He just misfired. If you've ever been in that situation, your mind starts rolling and that's what happens.
"He'll be better. He's got good stuff. He just misfired tonight."
Buck Farmer replaced VerHagen and allowed a two-run single to Jackie Bradley Jr. When the dust cleared, the Red Sox sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning.
Tigers pitchers walked 10.
"All you want to do is just get off the field, get back into the clubhouse and forget about it," Gardenhire said. "We'll come out tomorrow and we'll be blazing. That's all I can say. We're going to try to be blazing tomorrow.
"This is a great baseball team here (Red Sox) and we have to try to win three out of four tomorrow."