DETROIT -- David Ortiz received a retirement gift from the Tigers, then reminded them he's still working. His three-hit game included a two-run home run to put the Red Sox up for good -- though by inches at the end -- in a 3-2 win Saturday at Comerica Park.Before the
DETROIT -- David Ortiz received a retirement gift from the Tigers, then reminded them he's still working. His three-hit game included a two-run home run to put the Red Sox up for good -- though by inches at the end -- in a 3-2 win Saturday at Comerica Park.
Before the first pitch, which was delayed one hour and 20 minutes due to rain, the Tigers gave Ortiz a framed picture from the 2005 All-Star Game, then Ortiz created more memories with his 11th three-hit performance of the season. After a first-inning infield single against the shift and a third-inning line drive up the middle, he feasted on a hanging breaking ball from Detroit starter Daniel Norris (1-2) and sent it into the right-field seats for a 3-1 lead.
"He's one of the best for a reason," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
• Papi took a selfie with a fan ... right before hitting a homer
Both Norris and Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz (10-9) left after five innings thanks to a 1-hour, 11-minute rain delay. Solo homers from James McCann off Pomeranz and J.D. Martinez off Heath Hembree drew Detroit within a run before Craig Kimbrel retired Miguel Cabrera to strand the potential tying run on second base in the eighth, then struck out Casey McGehee to end the game with Justin Upton on second following a near-homer to straightaway center that Jackie Bradley Jr. helped keep in for a double.
"Again, we did pretty well against the back end of a team's bullpen," Ausmus said, "but this time we came up a little short."
The Red Sox have won eight of their last nine, staying within a half-game of Toronto for the American League East lead. The Tigers remained seven games behind Cleveland in the AL Central and 3 1/2 games back of Baltimore for the first AL Wild Card spot with their 10th loss in 13 games.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Opportunity missed: The Red Sox led off the third inning with three straight singles before Mookie Betts grounded into a double play. Dustin Pedroia came in to score, putting the Sox up 1-0, but they couldn't capitalize on the bases-loaded situation with nobody out. Betts is 3-for-12 with the bases loaded this season.
Left-handed compliment: While McCann has had an up-and-down season as a hitter, he has consistently feasted on left-handed pitching. He also had faced Pomeranz before from their college days as SEC opponents. When Pomeranz missed catcher Bryan Holaday's location down and in on a third-inning fastball he left over the plate, McCann pounced, sending it deep to left for his 10th home run -- and his eighth off lefties.
Historic homer: Ortiz hit himself into history with his home run in the fifth. He tied the record for most homers (29) in a season by a player after turning 40. Raul Ibanez (2013) and Ted Williams (1960) also did it. That homer also made him the third player to have 1,500 RBIs in a Red Sox uniform. He also scored his 1,400th career run. He is the 95th player in baseball history to reach that plateau.
"Forty is just a number," Ortiz said. More >
Upton barely misses game-tying homer: Upton came back from a three-game hiatus, having worked on his swing with Tigers hitting coach Wally Joyner, and nearly became a hero. After two strikeouts and a single, Upton fell into an 0-2 hole against Kimbrel before sending a drive to straightaway center that he thought was headed out. Instead, Bradley barely missed a highlight catch at the fence -- an unheard-of feat in the deep dimensions of Comerica Park -- before the ball fell for a double. More >
"Those guys are brothers to me. Those guys are family. So great to see them out there and what they said on the board is something that means a lot to me. And even not playing next year, I'm just going to keep it that way with them. Whenever they need me, I'll be there." -- Ortiz, on Cabrera and Victor Martinez in pregame ceremony honoring him
Red Sox: The Red Sox are calling on Henry Owens to start in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. ET series finale after Eduardo Rodriguez was scratched due to hamstring tightness. Owens allowed at least two earned runs in each of his three starts with Boston this season. He went 2-1 with a 0.99 ERA in his past three starts at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Tigers:Justin Verlander, doomed to defeat by three solo home runs from Royals hitters on Tuesday, will try to beat the Red Sox for the second time this season Sunday.
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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.
Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit and covered the Red Sox on Saturday.