BOSTON -- It took six tries, but Red Sox ace Chris Sale was finally able to emerge victorious in one of his duels with Justin Verlander.A late-game surge by the Boston bats helped propel Sale to an 11-3 win over Verlander and the Tigers on Saturday night at Fenway Park."That's
BOSTON -- It took six tries, but Red Sox ace Chris Sale was finally able to emerge victorious in one of his duels with Justin Verlander.
A late-game surge by the Boston bats helped propel Sale to an 11-3 win over Verlander and the Tigers on Saturday night at Fenway Park.
"That's a tough team over there," said Sale. "I've seen quite a bit of them. They've given me some fits over the years. Any win is good, don't get me wrong, but teams like that, that's nice to get over the hump."
This one was locked in a 3-3 tie entering the bottom of the seventh, but the Red Sox scored three in the seventh and five more in the eighth.
"Yeah, I mean today was a tough one there for seven innings," said Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland. "It was back and forth and a hard-fought game. In the eighth we had a big inning there. The last couple nights have been some fun games. It's where you want to be as a team, fighting those out until the end and coming out on top."
Sale (8-2, 2.97 ERA) allowed nine hits and three runs over seven innings, walking none and striking out seven.
In the top of the third, the Tigers had runners at the corners with nobody out, and Sale struck out Nicholas Castellanos, Jose Cabrera and Victor Martinez in succession.
The Red Sox wore down Verlander, making him throw 108 pitches in just five innings. The righty allowed five hits and three runs, walking four and striking out three while taking a no-decision.
• Sox grind out at-bats, keep foot on gas
"A lot of foul balls," Verlander said. "It seems to be the general theme this year. I need to find a way to get guys to swing and miss or put it in play weakly. Fouling balls off right now, it's killing me. It's extending at-bats."
• Verlander can't finish off hitters
In their six career matchups dating back to Sept. 2, 2012, Sale is 1-2 with a 2.95 ERA, while Verlander is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA. The Tigers had won all five of the previous matchups, four of which took place when Sale was a member of the White Sox.
Eight of the nine players in Boston's lineup had a hit, and Moreland and Andrew Benintendi both had three RBIs. Dustin Pedroia, in his second game back from the disabled list, went 2-for-4 and scored three runs.
"Yeah, shoot, they gave me a lead, I gave it right back, they gave me another lead, I gave it right back, and they kept their heads down and kept running," said Sale.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Moreland again with big hit: Moreland has been clutch for the Red Sox in the first two games of this series. After tying Friday's comeback win with an RBI single in the eighth, Moreland had the biggest hit in Saturday's game-turning rally. With one out in the seventh, he smoked a two-run double over the head of left fielder Justin Upton to snap a 3-3 tie. According to Statcast™, the hit had an exit velocity of 102.9 mph.
"And good to see him tonight with a hard double the other way in a key spot for a couple of RBIs, but he's playing outstanding on both sides of the baseball," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.
Bradley sprawls out for 5-star grab: With two on and two outs in the first, J.D. Martinez hit a sinking liner to center, and it looked like the Tigers were about to take a quick lead. But Jackie Bradley Jr. came roaring in and made a 5-star catch, according to Statcast™, sprawling on the grass and managing to hang on to the baseball. It was Bradley's first 5-star catch this season, but 11th in the Statcast™ era, which began in 2015. Bradley had to go 77 feet to make the play, and he had an opportunity time of 4.1 seconds.
"We were talking about not that specific play, but when a ball goes up and it's in center field, you typically don't ever worry about what part of the ballpark it's going to be in," said Farrell. "Jackie is likely to get there somehow. That's not a real high probability to complete the play. Gold Glove center fielder."
"Yeah, that's the one thing I've been able to do all year is rely on my defense. I've said it a million times, but I feel like I'm playing softball out there with four outfielders sometimes. They cover ground. Same thing with the guys on the infield. They give me the confidence to go out there and throw strikes and see how it plays out." -- Sale, on his defense helping him out
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Sale became the first Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 2000 to go seven innings in his first seven home starts of a season. Martinez won the American League Cy Young Award that season.
"Six is the standard, but I like to get into the seventh at least," said Sale.
Tigers:Daniel Norris (2-4, 4.48), who made his Major League debut at Fenway Park three years ago, makes his first start there on Sunday night as the series wraps up with an 8:05 p.m. ET start. Norris is 0-2 with a 6.60 ERA lifetime against the Red Sox in three starts and a relief appearance.
Red Sox: Lefty Thomas Pomeranz (6-3, 4.02 ERA) draws the assignment on Sunday Night Baseball. In his last start against the Yankees, Pomeranz threw 123 pitches over five innings, but allowed just one earned run and got the win.
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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.