The disease-ridden Boston Red Sox (Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross Jr., and Hanley Ramirez were out with the flu) started their fourth game with Eduardo Rodriguez making his first start of the season. They faced Jordan Zimmermann and the Tigers with a less than optimal lineup with Xander Bogaerts out on bereavement leave, in addition to the other MIAs. Betts, who had been out with the flu, was in the clubhouse and available to pinch hit.
Mitch Moreland took a high pitch to the right-field fence for a double to lead off the second inning. Hot-hitting Pablo Sandoval moved him to third with a fly ball to deep center. Moreland then scored when Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a deep sac fly to right-center to give Boston the 1-0 lead. Chris Young ended the Sox second with a high pop up in the infield. This was the earliest the Sox have led this season.
Old friend Victor Martinez walked to lead off, but was thrown out at second when Justin Upton hit a fielder’s choice to first base. Upton then compounded his mistake by being thrown out at second on an ill-fated steal attempt. Mikie Mahtook walked and James McCann flied out to end the inning.
The second was delayed for a brief period of time when a fan ran out onto the field. It is presumed that he was drunk at the time. Or stupid. Or both.
Marco Hernandez started the top of the third with a routine grounder to short for the out. Christian Vazquez did his part to keep the catcher position in the batting average lead by smashing a double to deep right field. The aura of Brock Holt, with the help of a tight strike zone, walked. Dustin Pedroia loaded the bases with a single to center, but Andrew Benintendi ended the scoring threat with a 4-6-3 double play.
Rodriguez struck out his second batter of the day with a swinging K by Jacoby Jones. Ex-Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias tied the game with a homer to left. With two excellent defensive plays, the first by Hernandez in left took a hit away from Kinsler, the second when JBJ ranged to his right to take a hit away from Castellanos, the Sox got out of the inning with no more damage and the score tied at one all.
Moreland, showing his proclivity for hitting high pitches, laced a ball to the wall in right for a single to lead off the fourth inning. Sandoval popped up to shallow right center for the first out, then Bradley was punched out for out number two. Young hit into a fielder’s choice to short to end the top of the fourth.
Cabrera walked and then V-Mart hit into a 6-4-3 double play, followed up by Upton striking out to end the inning.
Vazquez was hit by a pitch after Hernandez led off with a swinging strikeout. Holt and Pedroia then both flied out to end the inning.
McCann followed a swinging out by Mahtook with a home run that was smoked into the seats in left. That was followed up by a two bagger by Jones. He then went to third on a pitch to the backstop by Rodriguez. Iglesias followed that up with a double to right to score Jones. Kinsler continued the hit parade with a single to left to score Iglesias and bring the score to 4-1 Tigers. He was caught in a run down between first and second for the second out of the inning. Castellanos ended the pain with a strikeout.
Benintendi flied out to Upton just in front of the warning track in left. Moreland and Sandoval ended the inning with a ground out and a pop fly to short, respectively.
Ben Taylor, who made his major league debut on Friday, came out for the sixth so that Rodriguez could spend the rest of the game watching from the dugout. Cabrera struck out to start the Detroit half. Taylor struck out Martinez for the second out followed by an Upton pop up to right for the third. An impressive half inning from Taylor.
Detroit brought in Shane Greene to relieve Zimmerman. During JBJ’s at-bat, yet another fan ran on the field. No one was amused. JBJ struck out and after working the count full, Young lifted a fly ball to the warning track in left that was caught by Upton. Vazquez was then hit by a pitch for the second time to move Hernandez over, who reached on a single to center. The runners were advanced to third and second on a wild pitch with Holt at the plate. The designated hitter was rung up on a close pitch to end the scoring threat.
Taylor struck out Mahtook for his third K of this outing. He then walked McCann to give the Tigers a baserunner. After Taylor walked Jones, manager John Farrell came to the mound to send Taylor to the showers and bring in Noe Ramirez. Ramirez did his job as Iglesias popped out to first and Kinsler lined out to center.
Taylor, who struck out the only batter he faced yesterday, struck out three of the six batters he faced today with two walks.
Pedroia led off the eighth with a walk issued by new Detroit pitcher, Kyle Ryan. Benintendi followed with a single to right, moving Pedroia to second. Moreland hit a fielder’s choice to first, erasing Benintendi. Sandoval, hitting from his weaker right side, hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Ramirez came back out for the bottom of the eighth to face Castellanos, who flied out to right center on an excellent play by JBJ, who crashed into the wall by the scoreboard to corral the ball. He then struck out Cabrera and then Martinez flied out to center.
Justin Wilson came out in the ninth to keep the Sox bats in the cooler. Sox fans held their collective breath as JBJ went down in a heap after rounding first on a fly out to Upton. He caught his left foot in the dirt and landed awkwardly on his right knee. After Farrell and the trainer came out, Bradley was able to walk off under his own power. Steve Selsky came in to pinch hit for Hernandez and struck out to end the game.
The Red Sox lost 4-1 to move their record in the wrong direction at 2-2. They have now scored 14 runs in four games, three of which had the split squad lineups that you normally see in spring training because of the flu and players on bereavement leave. Eight of those runs have come via homers. They have also only scored in four out of 38 innings.