Detroit had trouble containing Boston’s offense during the first two games of their series. The Tigers took advantage of a first-time starter to find some of their own.
Leonys Martin had a two-run homer to cap a five-run first inning and the Tigers beat the Red Sox 7-2 on Thursday night.
Detroit’s victory ended a four-game win streak for Boston, which had outscored the Tigers 13-1 in the first two games of the series.
Detroit’s early onslaught spoiled the major-league debut of 24-year-old left-hander Jalen Beeks (0-1), who had a night to forget after having been called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday.
Left-hander Matthew Boyd (4-4) was solid in his third career start against Boston, allowing just four hits and two runs while striking out six over 6 1/3 innings. He gave up a solo home run to Andrew Benintendi and had three wild pitches, but they were just blips during a quiet offensive night for Boston. The Tigers have won five of Boyd’s last six starts.
“We needed him to get into the second half of the game and he did a nice job,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “That’s a great lineup over there. He had to battle through.”
Martin also had a triple and scored twice.
“Getting a five-run first, we actually walked more people than we wanted to early on but … we want to be aggressive,” Tigers catcher John Hicks said. “If you’re going to beat us, you’re going to have to drive in seven runs.”
Trailing late, Boston loaded the bases with one out in the eighth on reliever Joe Jimenez, but he struck out Sam Travis and Rafael Devers to end the threat.
Beeks struck out the first batter of the night but ended his first big league inning by giving up five runs on four hits, to put Detroit in front. That is the most earned runs given up by a Red Sox starter in his first career inning pitched, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
For the night, Beeks gave up six runs on seven hits with four strikeouts before being pulled after four innings.
“Disappointing. Obviously not how you want to come out,” Beeks said.
After a whirlwind 24 hours that included him quickly making arrangements for more than a dozen family members to be in attendance, his debut was short on highlights.
Nicholas Castellanos got Detroit going in the first when he doubled off the Green Monster. Beeks walked Miguel Cabrera but Castellanos was able to tag and advance to third when Victor Martinez popped out to right.
Jeimer Candelario then ripped an RBI double down the left field line. Hicks kept the rally going with a two-run single. Martin then made it 5-0 with his blast over the Green Monster. The inning finally came to an end when Beeks got Jose Iglesias to pop out on the infield.
Red Sox: J.D. Martinez was pulled after the seventh inning because of back tightness. Manager Alex Cora said it wasn’t as bad as in the Houston series and was done for precautionary reasons. … RF Mookie Betts (abdominal strain) participated in batting practice before Thursday’s game. “Taking steps in the right direction,” Betts said. “You don’t want to rush it, because then you’ll be out for a long time. I’m gonna take things slow and continue to progress. … Jackie Bradley Jr. had a scheduled day off on Thursday. Manager Alex Cora said Bradley did not have any lingering issues after twice being hit by a pitch during Wednesday’s win over the Tigers.
Thursday marked the 19th multi-hit game of 2018 for Martin and his fourth with multiple extra-base hits.
Benintendi has now homered in four of his last five games. He is the first Red Sox player other than Betts to hit a leadoff home run since Brock Holt on July 13, 2014.
Both teams had a pair of highlight-worthy defensive plays.
Devers denied Castellanos an extra-base hit in the second inning when he dove to snare his hard-hit line drive down the third base line.
Then with the Red Sox threatening in the seventh with a runner on second, shortstop Iglesias returned the favor by knocking down Benintendi’s sharply hit ground ball and getting up to throw him out.
Tigers: Right-hander Michael Fulmer (2-5, 4.73 ERA) is set to start Friday as Detroit returns home to begin a three-game series with Cleveland.
Red Sox: Left-hander Chris Sale (5-3, 3.00) gets the start for Boston when it begins its three-game series with the White Sox at Fenway on Friday. Sale has won four straight decisions and ranks second in the American League with 110 strikeouts.