Red Sox - 102 002 000 - 5 9 0Dice (5-6-1-3-6, 96) pitched out of two serious jams and after a trio of Red Sox relievers tossed three perfect innings, Jonathan Papelbon needed 35 pitches to get through the ninth: three singles followed by three strikeouts.
Tigers - 100 000 000 - 1 9 2
Boston grabbed a 1-0 lead six pitches into the game. Dustin Pedroia doubled to left on a 1-0 pitch and scored when J.D. Drew singled to center on a 1-2 count. Dice walked Clete Thomas to start the home first and Placido Polanco singled. Magglio Ordonez GIDP, but Miguel Cabrera and Curtis Granderson singled. Dice struck out Brandon Inge for the third out.
The Red Sox took a 3-1 lead in the third when Drew singled and Bay smashed a one-out, two-run dong to left, his 16th tater of the year.
Matsuzaka walked the 8th and 9th hitters (on 16 pitches) to start the Detroit fifth, but struck out Thomas, got Polanco to line out to left and fanned Ordonez.
The Sox scored twice off relievers Ryan Perry and Brandon Lyon in the sixth on three walks, a single and a bases-loaded HBP.
Manny Delcarmen pitched a 1-2-3 sixth, Hideki Okajima retired the four batters he faced and Ramon Ramirez got the final two hitters in the eighth. In the ninth, Bot allowed a broken bat single to Cabrera (cbsb), a line drive single to left by Granderson (bbf) and a ground single to left by Inge (f). Bases loaded, no one out.
Josh Anderson battled through an 11-pitch at-bat (ffffbfffff), but chased a high fastball for strike three. Pinch-hitter Jeff Larish whiffed on an inside heater (bbff) and Ramon Santiago (bbcs) struck out on gas to end the game.
David Ortiz slapped an opposite-field single in the second inning, but grounded to first (a 3635 DP) to end the third and struck out in his last three at-bats. ... Jacoby Ellsbury reached base four times: an infield error, two singles and an intentional walk. ... Jason Varitek singled, doubled and walked.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (8.82, 55 ERA+) / Rick Porcello (3.48, 134 ERA+)
The Red Sox (29-22), who trail the Yankees (30-21) by one game, visit Comerica Park for three games against the AL Central-leading Tigers.
(New York hosts the Rangers, who are 4.5 GA of the Angels in the AL West. LAA is playing in Toronto.)
Last season, Dice held hitters to an MLB-best .164 average with runners in scoring position. Everyone knew the Houdini act could not last. In his four starts this year, hitters are batting .400 (10-for-25) with RISP. He has still pitched far better with the bases empty:
PA AVG OBP SLG OPSAlthough he dropped Jacoby Ellsbury to the 8th spot in Sunday's lineup and led off with Dustin Pedroia and J.D. Drew, Terry Francona says any changes are not an attempt to jump-start the offense or based on a hunch:
Runners On 47 .297 .413 .432 .845
Bases Empty 39 .472 .513 .889 1.402
I think that that goes against everything I believe in. I think the one thing I'm supposed to be is consistent and that goes against that. ... We are getting to the point where we're 50 games into the season and I think the numbers start meaning something. ... We need to have our on-base guys for the guys in the middle of the order. ... Sometimes when we don't score, you can look at a lot of things. It's a little easy to get mixed up, so I just try to sit back and think, "OK, what can help us?" without forgetting what can hurt us.Tito also said "there is a pretty decent chance" Mark Kotsay (9-for-26 for the PawSox) would be activated tonight. Jeff Bailey likely would be sent back to Pawtucket.
How does Porcello [a 6-5, 200 RHP] follow up a 5-0 May? Continuing the unbeaten streak into June would be an impressive step. In addition to being the first Tigers pitcher since John Doherty in 1984 to win five or more games in a month, the impressive rookie has posted a 1.50 ERA during his current five-game winning streak. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that makes Porcello -- at 20 years, 151 days old -- the second-youngest pitcher in Major League history to go 5-0 with an ERA of 1.50 or better in any five-start span (the Mets' Dwight Gooden went 5-0 with a 1.43 ERA in five starts at age 19 in 1984). ... He's worked seven innings only once in his nine starts, a clear sign that the Tigers will take a conservative approach and not overwork him.BP 2009:
Porcello was universally seen as one of the top pitching prospects in the game before he threw a pitch as a professional, and in his pro debut, he led the Florida State League in ERA as a teenager. Yet, for some reason, his season was categorized by some as a disappointment, mostly due to a low strikeout rate. However, the Tigers limited him by only allowing a small number of breaking balls per start and had him focus on his low-90s sinker rather than his monster four-seam fastball. Despite this deliberate pair of handicaps, we repeat: he still led the league in ERA.Porcello's highest pitch count total of the season has been 95; he's been between 82 and 89 in seven of his nine starts (log).
John Smoltz pitched five innings (5-4-1-0-6, 73) for Greenville (A) on Sunday, allowing one run on four hits to the Charleston RiverDogs. Smoltz struck out his final three batters.
I don't think I'm far away. Today was more a familiar pitching that I thought I was capable of the last month, two months. For the most part, I'm really pleased with today's effort. I felt really fresh in the fifth inning, even though it's the longest stint I've had.Smoltz's next two starts are expected to be with Pawtucket.
Jon Lester was the first Boston lefty to strike out at least 12 batters while allowing three hits or fewer since Roger Moret (9-1-0-2-12) on August 21, 1974. All three of the hits allowed by Lester on Sunday were infield singles.
The Red Sox executed their first two sacrifice bunts of the season on Sunday; by contrast, Seattle has 26. ... Steve Buckley of the Herald checks in with Portland starter Junichi Tazawa (2.82 in 10 starts). ... In his June 1 mailbag, MLB.com's Ian Browne writes: "I could see [Jed Lowrie] being back in the lineup in about three weeks."