John Lackey received no run support as Boston fell 3-0 to
Detroit at Fenway Park on Monday (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Once again, Boston hitters were unable to provide any run support for John Lackey, falling 3-0 to the Detroit Tigers in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park on Labor Day.
Lackey took the loss and dropped to 8-12 on the year despite a 3.22 ERA, giving up three runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking one in seven-plus innings before giving way to Matt Thornton, who pitched the rest of the way.
Doug Fister pushed through some command problems early in the game but settled down to earn the win for the Tigers and move to 12-7 while lowering his ERA to 3.66. Fister tossed seven innings, allowing four hits and striking out four while walking four, and Jose Veras came on in the ninth to earn his 21st save of the year.
Despite only mustering six hits on the day, Boston had plenty of chances to cash in runs for Lackey but went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position, stranding a runner at third base four times in the game.
Daniel Nava, who has now reached base in 37 consecutive starts, was the lone bright spot for the Boston offence, going 3 for 3 with two doubles and a walk. David Ortiz, who is only two hits away from reaching the 2,000-hit mark, went 0 for 4 on the day.
Shortstop Jose Iglesias — who was sent to Detroit as part of the three-team, deadline trade that brought Jake Peavy to the Red Sox — went 1 for 3 at the plate and got the better of his former team on the field, helping to turn three key double plays in the first, second and sixth innings.
Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:
1) Dirks Jerks It: After Victor Martinez singled to left to begin the seventh, Andy Dirks ripped a pitch deep to the triangle in center for a triple, driving in Martinez ahead of him for the first run of the game and giving Detroit a 1-0 lead.
2) Double Trouble: Still in the seventh and after Omar Infante walked, Don Kelly hit into a double play that allowed Dirks to cross the plate to put Detroit up 2-0.
3) No Will To Win: The Red Sox had a golden opportunity to tie up the game in the home half of the seventh when Stephen Drew’s ground out to first allowed Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Mike Napoli to advance to second and third, respectively, but it only took Will Middlebrooks two pitches to ground out and end the inning.
4) Action Jackson: After Austin Jackson singled to left and stole second and Torii Hunter moved him over with a single in the eighth, Prince Fielder lifted a sacrifice fly to right field deep enough to bring in Jackson for a 3-0 Tigers lead.
With the loss, the 82-57 Red Sox temporarily lose a half game in their American League East Division lead and now sit five games up on the second-place, 75-60 Tampa Bay Rays, who visit the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim later Monday night.
Tomorrow, in Game Two of the battle between American League Division leaders, Jon Lester (12-8, 3.99 ERA) will try and match up against red-hot Max Scherzer, who is 19-1 with a 2.90 ERA in 2013.