DETROIT -- Jose Iglesias' two RBIs and James McCann's second home run in as many days supported a healthy Jordan Zimmermann and a redemptive Tigers bullpen, sending Detroit to its second straight win over Boston with a 4-1 decision Saturday at Comerica Park.One day after a crazy eighth inning erased
DETROIT -- Jose Iglesias' two RBIs and James McCann's second home run in as many days supported a healthy Jordan Zimmermann and a redemptive Tigers bullpen, sending Detroit to its second straight win over Boston with a 4-1 decision Saturday at Comerica Park.
One day after a crazy eighth inning erased what had been a four-run Tigers lead, this one was fairly decisive. Zimmermann, whose return from an injury-plagued 2016 is seen as crucial to Detroit's fortunes, gave up some hard-hit outs early but retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced in his six-inning outing for his first win since last June 14. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a 413-foot sacrifice fly -- as projected by Statcast™ -- to center to account for the lone Red Sox run in the second.
"It was a really tough year for me last year, battling injuries," Zimmermann said. "To finally have a fresh start and a healthy spring, to come in the first game and do this, it means a lot, and I'm extremely happy."
Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez avoided damage to Detroit's big bats but fell victim to two solo homers and two doubles against the bottom third of the batting order. Iglesias' 433-foot homer opened the scoring in the third, and McCann hit a 431-foot drive to left field in the fourth. JaCoby Jones and Iglesias hit back-to-back doubles -- Iglesias' driving in the Tigers' third run -- before Ian Kinsler singled home Iglesias.
The Red Sox again played short-handed, as Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez were sidelined with illness and shortstop Xander Bogaerts spent the second of his three days on the bereavement list.
"It's tough," said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "We've got to try to find a way to get everybody back and get over this little bug."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Zimmermann escapes bases-loaded jam: Zimmermann endured some hard contact before he settled down, but his biggest out came in the third inning after a Christian Vazquez double, Brock Holt walk and Pedroia single. Up came Andrew Benintendi, who fell into an 0-2 hole before hitting a grounder to the right side that Kinsler and Iglesias turned into an inning-ending double play.
"Right there, everything's pretty much got to be perfect," Kinsler said. "The catch, the feed, Iglesias' catch and throw to first was right on the money for [Jose Cabrera] to be able to stretch. I think we beat him by half a step, so it was a huge play."
Bullpen comes through: A day after three Tigers relievers pitched in a five-run eighth inning, two Tigers relievers protecting a three-run lead needed key outs with the potential tying run at the plate. Shane Greene coaxed a called third strike at the knees on Holt to end the seventh, then Kyle Ryan -- back from paternity leave -- induced an inning-ending double play from Pablo Sandoval, whose home run off Francisco Rodriguez briefly put Boston in front on Friday, in the eighth.
"I don't know where those changeups came from," Ryan said of his approach to Sandoval, "but they worked. It worked nicely."
BRADLEY'S LATEST SENSATIONAL GRABS
Bradley kept his streak alive and has now made at least one standout play in all four games this season. In Saturday's game, he raced in to make a diving catch against Nicholas Castellanos. According to Statcast™, the 4-star grab had a Catch Probability of 38 percent. Bradley's route was nearly perfect, as he traveled 61 feet for a play that required 59 feet. It was Bradley's third four-star catch in four games. In the eighth, Bradley robbed Castellanos in even more spectacular fashion, racing back to deep right-center and making a leaping catch against the wall.That one was also 4 stars, and had a catch probability of 46 percent.
"It's not like we can go home and quit. We've got games to play, man. We've got a job to do, and we're going to try to do it the best we can." -- Pedroia, on the Red Sox dealing with so many missing players.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Justin Wilson's save Saturday was just his second in 279 career appearances. They've both come against the Red Sox. The other one was July 27 of last year at Fenway Park.
Red Sox: Right-hander Rick Porcello will make his 93rd career appearance at Comerica Park (including postseason) when he starts Sunday's 1:10 p.m. ET game against the Tigers. Porcello pitched for Detroit from 2009-15 and broke through with the Red Sox last season en route to winning the American League's Cy Young Award.
Tigers: After an extra wait thanks to rainouts and dead arm, Daniel Norris makes his first start of the season Sunday, hoping to build off his early momentum in Spring Training. He's 0-2 with an 8.31 ERA lifetime against Boston.
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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.