Xander Bogaerts was set to rejoin the Red Sox lineup, but a flight cancellation prevented that from happening. This left Boston short-handed once again with Hanley Ramirez still ailing from the flu and Jackie Bradley Jr. out with a knee injury.
After Verlander and Sale traded perfect first innings, Mitch Moreland led off the second inning with a double down the first base line. It was his fourth double and sixth hit of this series. After a walk by Pablo Sandoval, Chris Young hit into a potential double play, but third baseman Nick Castellanos mishandled the hop on the grounder and was unable to get an out. With the bases loaded, Brock Holt grounded into a 4-6-3 double play with the first run of the game coming in the back door. Verlander was then able to induce a Sandy Leon inning-ending liner to third base to keep the score at 1-0 Boston.
Sale allowed his first baserunner of the game to the ninth hitter he faced as Austin Romine laced a two-out automatic double down the third base line. The lefty was able to get out of the inning by striking out leadoff man Ian Kinsler.
Moreland hit his second double of the game to deep left centerfield to lead off the top of the fourth inning, but runs were hard to come by as Verlander struck out Sandoval. The Tigers’ righty then induced back-to-back fly outs from Young and Holt.
Sale continued to cruise through the the next two innings, but in the sixth he would give up his first run in a Red Sox uniform. After retiring both JaCoby Jones and Romine via the strikeout, Kinsler was able to lift a deep fly ball on a poorly located fastball over the left field wall, bringing the score even at 1-1. The lefty then struck out Castellanos to end the inning.
After Verlander’s 110th pitch completed a free pass to Holt, Detroit manager Brad Ausmus came out to confer with the righty on his ability to finish the inning. The skipper left the mound and the ball with Verlander, and the Tigers’ righty showed that it was the correct decision as Sandy Leon lifted a pop fly into foul territory that was corralled by second baseman Ian Kinsler. Verlander left the game with seven innings pitched and four strikeouts, while allowing one run on three hits and two walks. After two starts, the Detroit ace’s ERA stands at 1.35.
After Sale pitched around a Victor Martinez single, lefty Justin Wilson entered the game in the top of the eighth. Wilson struck out Marco Hernandez and retired Pedroia on a liner to left field before walking Andrew Benintendi on four pitches to bring up Mookie Betts. The lefty reliever was able to induce a lazy fly ball to left field, however, ending the frame and keeping the score tied at 1-1.
Sale retired the first two batters of the bottom of the eighth, including his 10th strikeout, before allowing Austin Romine’s second double of the day. The lefty then walked Ian Kinsler, and Nick Castellanos followed that up by ripping a ground ball through the left side of the infield, scoring Romine. Castellanos was able to advance to second base on a throwing error from third baseman Brock Holt, putting both runners in scoring position.
Red Sox manager John Farrell then ambled out to the mound to take the ball from Sale, turning to righty Heath Hembree to face Miguel Cabrera. Sale tossed 7 ⅔ innings allowing two runs on four hits and no walks while striking out 10. Hembree threw one pitch to retire Cabrera on a fly ball to right field.
The Tigers turned to closer Francisco Rodriguez with an opportunity to earn his second save of the season. Moreland started the top of the ninth by lacing a single through the shift for his third hit of the game and was then lifted for pinch runner Steve Selsky. A comeback was not in the cards for the Red Sox, however, as Sandoval struck out, Young grounded into a fielder’s choice at second, and Holt ended the game watching strike three.