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Tigers slam their way to win over Red Sox

June 12, 2017

BOSTON -- This was no Aaron Judge type of tape-measure blast that Justin Upton provided on Sunday Night Baseball.But the Tigers loved it, as Upton's modest fly ball to right clanged off Pesky's Pole for a grand slam, fueling an 8-3 victory over the Red Sox to salvage the finale

BOSTON -- This was no Aaron Judge type of tape-measure blast that Justin Upton provided on Sunday Night Baseball.
But the Tigers loved it, as Upton's modest fly ball to right clanged off Pesky's Pole for a grand slam, fueling an 8-3 victory over the Red Sox to salvage the finale of a three-game series after losing the first two.
"There was no question we needed that," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said, "especially after losing the lead in the first game and then getting blown out in the second game."
After missed chances, Tigers ride Upton's slam
Upton went the other way against Red Sox reliever Richard Hembree with one out in the fifth for the fifth slam of his career. It is only 302 feet from home plate to the right-field foul line at Fenway Park, and Statcast™ registered Upton's 13th homer of the season with an exit velocity of 99.9 mph and a projected distance of 344 feet.
"I thought I'd hit it hard enough that it would run out of time to curve, and that ended up being the case," Upton said. "But at the end there, it started to curve quite a bit."
It had been a close game up to that point, with Detroit clinging to a 3-2 lead.
The Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but Jose Iglesias snared a hard liner by Chris Young to end it.
Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris went five innings to earn the win, scattering seven hits and two runs while walking three and striking out six.
Thomas Pomeranz threw 92 pitches over 4 1/3 innings for Boston, giving up eight hits and six runs, five of them earned. It was the eighth time in 12 starts this season he has pitched fewer than six innings.
"It's a matter of just more consistent execution," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I don't have anything else to say but that. He's shown the ability to do it. I thought tonight his stuff might not have been as sharp, but still, [you'd] like to get into the second half of the game a little bit more regularly."
Nicholas Castellanos, who has been on a power surge the last few days, ripped a two-run homer just two batters into the game, and the Tigers led the rest of the way.

Pomeranz lifted, Upton breaks game open: The fifth inning marked the second straight frame that Pomeranz loaded the bases, but this time, Farrell didn't give him a chance to get out of it. With one out, sinkerballer Hembree came on, and he gave up that game-breaking grand slam to Upton. Of the four homers Hembree has allowed this season, this was the first that came off his best pitch -- the two-seamer. In the fourth, Pomeranz had the bases loaded and nobody out and got out of it with no runs scored.
"After a taxing five innings five days ago, and a second consecutive inning with bases loaded, there was a chance to try to get a matchup. It didn't work out," said Farrell. More >

Ausmus challenges Moreland, and it works: With runners on second and third with two outs in the third and his team up by a run, Ausmus made an interesting decision, ordering an intentional walk of Hanley Ramirez with Mitch Moreland coming up. Though Ausmus was prioritizing the lefty-lefty matchup, it was risky given that Moreland has torched the Tigers this season. But the move worked, as Moreland flied out to center to end the inning.
"I was concerned about it, yeah," Ausmus said. "I was banking on [Norris] not walking Moreland. But Ramirez had taken some pretty good swings against him his previous at-bat. He seemed to be recognizing pitches."

"All year, I've never stopped competing. I mean, I'll lose it for a couple batters there just because I'm searching, but I'm never just giving in. Because I know I have to grind through this period where it seems like I can't get deep into games, but once I do, then it'll be a big sigh of relief." -- Norris, on surviving through long innings and deep pitch counts
Jose Cabrera's fifth-inning single off the Green Monster had an exit velocity of 107.7 mph, according to Statcast™. It was his hardest hit since May 31, but he made three outs since then that were hit harder, including a ground-ball double play with a 108-mph exit velocity on Tuesday, part of a 3-for-22 slump since his previous multi-hit game, on June 3.
In the bottom of the first, Ramirez hit a ball into left field, scoring Dustin Pedroia from second. Ramirez tried to leg out a double but was tagged out by second baseman Ian Kinsler to end the inning. Ramirez's left foot seemed to reach the bag before the tag was made, and he made the safe signal himself as he reached second. Farrell called for a challenge, but the call was confirmed. The review lasted two minutes and 16 seconds.

In the bottom of the ninth, what was initially called the game-ending out was overturned via crew chief review, though with encouragement from Farrell, who tripped charging out of the dugout when first-base umpire Bill Welke called Moreland out on a ground ball to second. Replay showed that Moreland beat Kinsler's throw, continuing the game for one more batter and bringing the potential tying run to the on-deck circle.

Tigers: After an off-day on Monday, Detroit begins a six-game homestand with a 7:10 p.m. ET game against the D-backs, the opener of a quick two-game Interleague series. Buck Farmer (2-0, 0.00 ERA) takes a 13-inning scoreless streak into his third start this season.
Red Sox: Right-hander Rick Porcello (3-8, 4.46 ERA) will try to get back on track when he pitches Monday night's opener of a four-game, home-and-home series against the Phillies. The first two games will be at Fenway Park, starting with Monday's 7:10 p.m. ET contest.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.