BOSTON -- Thirsty to get on the right track, the Tigers immediately pounced on Red Sox starter Jalen Beeks in his big league debut en route to a 7-2 victory at Fenway Park on Thursday night."We get to go home happy tonight after a win. That's big after two tough
BOSTON -- Thirsty to get on the right track, the Tigers immediately pounced on Red Sox starter Jalen Beeks in his big league debut en route to a 7-2 victory at Fenway Park on Thursday night.
"We get to go home happy tonight after a win. That's big after two tough ones," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's always tough to win here."
Things started out well enough for Boston's No. 15 prospect, who struck out the first batter he faced, JaCoby Jones, with a 93-mph heater. Up next, Nicholas Castellanos continued his attack on left-handed pitchers by lofting a long fly to left field that was barely contained by the Green Monster, resulting in a double which was followed by a Jose Cabrera walk.
Victor Martinez's flyout to right field seemed to put the rookie southpaw in a good position with two outs in his favor, but the Tigers weren't quite done.
Jeimer Candelario, back in the lineup after jamming his middle finger on Tuesday night, ripped an RBI double to left which plated Castellanos. Then, catcher Jordan Hicks ripped a ball through the right side of the infield, scoring Cabrera and Candelario, the latter who just beat J.D. Martinez's throw to the plate.
Next up, Leonys Martin took a 1-1 fastball one step further than Castellanos did, depositing his eighth home run of the season into the first row of Monster seats, giving Detroit a 5-0 lead before Boston ever got to bat.
"We only had one guy that's actually faced [Beeks] in the Minor Leagues," Gardenhire said. "You just go out there, see what he's got and see what he's trying to do. He made some mistakes, and we made him pay, just like they've been doing to us. A good night swinging."
The five runs scored tie the most in an inning by the Tigers this season, and the sixth time they've done so in 2018. The last time Detroit scored five in a frame was during the first inning on May 31 against the Angels.
Boston got one back in the bottom half of the first on an Andrew Benintendi leadoff home run off of Matthew Boyd, who settled in afterward to give Detroit a solid 6 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs to improve his record to 4-4.
"We wanted to stay aggressive," Hicks said. "Given a five-run first, we actually walked more people than we wanted to. If you want to beat us, you're going to have to drive in six or seven runs. We don't want to give any gifts by walking guys."
"We needed [Boyd] to get into the second half of the game," Gardenhire said. "He did a nice job. That's a great lineup over there. He had to battle through it. He didn't have his best stuff tonight, but I do believe that that team makes you pitch like that."
Beeks, who allowed another run in the third inning, took the loss after tossing four frames.
Martin finished 2-for-4 with a home run, a triple, two RBIs and two runs, and Jose Iglesias and Hicks chipped in with 2-for-4, two-RBI efforts.
"It's a positive," Boyd said. "It's just a win, and everything is geared toward that in the grand scheme, as a team."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
After reliever Joe Jimenez loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth inning, with just one out, pitching coach Chris Bosio and Hicks went to the mound to discuss a few things, including changing up their signs. Jimenez then proceeded to pump two 97-mph fastballs past Sam Travis to finish him on strikes before flashing a 98-mph heater past Rafael Devers to end Boston's late threat.
With his first-inning double, Castellanos collected his 28th hit of the season off a left-handed pitcher. The Tigers' outfielder is hitting a Majors-best .418 against lefties this season.
HE SAID IT
"They have some great hitters. We mixed our patterns a lot. We didn't repeat very many pitches. If we threw a fastball, we generally went to something else. If we threw a breaking ball, we either went to a different one or changed locations. We moved it around a lot." -- Hicks
The Tigers return home to finish off a stretch of 18 games in 17 days with a three-game series against the American League Central rival Indians. In their first meeting in April, Detroit scored just five runs in a four-game sweep by Cleveland. On Friday, the Tigers will look to Michael Fulmer, who is 2-3 with a 7.31 ERA in six career starts against the Indians. Cleveland will counter with Trevor Bauer (4-4, 2.77). First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston.