BOSTON -- With the Red Sox's offense hitting a wall at the conclusion of a 10-game road trip this week, Boston was in dire need of a spark upon its return to Fenway Park.The conductor wound up being first baseman Mitch Moreland, whose 3-for-4 game, including a home run and
BOSTON -- With the Red Sox's offense hitting a wall at the conclusion of a 10-game road trip this week, Boston was in dire need of a spark upon its return to Fenway Park.
The conductor wound up being first baseman Mitch Moreland, whose 3-for-4 game, including a home run and two RBIs, propelled the Red Sox to a 5-3 win over the Tigers on Friday. The veteran, who is hitting .276 with eight homers and 32 RBIs, finished a triple shy of the cycle.
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Moreland's first order of business was to eradicate the Red Sox's hitting slump. Boston had scored only one run over a 22-inning span in its series loss to the Yankees.
By the fourth, the narrative was on par, as Detroit starter Jordan Zimmermann shut out Boston through three frames -- then Moreland came up to the plate for the second time.
On an 0-1 pitch, the first baseman launched an 81.3-mph curveball 388 feet past the center-field wall to cut Boston's deficit to 3-1. The swing gave the Red Sox their first RBI since Tuesday.
For Moreland, he was just looking to give his team a chance.
"I led off that inning and I was just trying to get on base and make something happen," Moreland said. "I was able to get a pitch and put a decent swing on it. It wasn't a great pitch I don't think, but I was able to put a swing on it and got it out."
When Red Sox manager John Farrell saw Moreland's ball leave the park, he was instantly reminded of the defensive play his first baseman made the previous half-inning. Moreland stretched out from the bag to save Pablo Sandoval an error after the third baseman juggled a ground ball down the third-base line.
"It's almost like we caught a little energy from the final defensive play on the preceding half-inning," Farrell said. "He makes one heck of a play to keep his foot on the base, and then he comes right out and gets a breaking ball down and in that he drives out of the ballpark. We almost had a quick turnaround in terms of momentum and getting it finally started on our side. That's what one big swing of the bat can do for you."
His night wasn't done, though, as Moreland was also up for some late-game heroics. While Jackie Bradley Jr.'s two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning gave the Red Sox the lead, it was Moreland's RBI single that tied the game up a few at-bats earlier.
"He was big," Bradley said. "He was all over balls tonight. He made some great plays defensively as well. He's been very, very crucial for us."
Moreland's big night might have been expected, as he's found success against the Tigers this year. Before this weekend series, he was hitting .533 against Detroit, including five doubles.
For Farrell, nights like these are the reason that the Red Sox signed Moreland to a one-year deal in December.
"He's got a really good third of a season under his belt right now," Farrell said. "He's a really good offensive player. We felt there was 20-home-run capability. We'll see where that goes. But you project it's going to be 20 and 80-plus [RBIs], somewhere north of that. He's been everything we could have anticipated when we signed him."
Evan Chronis is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston.