A fourth-inning rally paved the way as the Red Sox got to Justin Verlander for four runs, taking a rain-shortened 4-1 victory over the Tigers.
While the Red Sox wouldn't sway the game in their favor until the fourth inning, they certainly got off to an encouraging start. Josh Beckett retired the side 1-2-3 in the first, and in the bottom half of the inning the lineup made Justin Verlander work for his outs. A line drive from Jacoby Ellsbury would give the Red Sox a leadoff single, and while Verlander managed to retire both Carl Crawford and Dustin Pedroia, some close calls going against him would lead to walks for both Adrian Gonzalez and Cody Ross, loading the bases before Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out to end the threat.
Beckett would retire the side in order again in the second, and then quickly recorded two outs in the third before everything suddenly fell apart. An inconspicuous infield single from Omar Infante would prove the catalyst, extending the inning long enough for Beckett to hit Austin Jackson, and then walk both Quintin Berry and Miguel Cabrera to bring in a run. Immediately after the last walk Beckett signaled to the dugout for trainers, and then left the game with back spasms.
Clayton Mortensen would enter the game in place of Beckett, recording what was quite possible the most pivotal out of the game on a Prince Fielder fly ball to center field. The Sox were out of the jam with just one run against them, but with the rain coming down harder by the minute, and not expected to stop until late in the night, it was becoming clear they may not have many opportunities to tie it.
Luckily, the Sox needed only the fourth. Leadoff singles from Cody Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia started the rally, and while Will Middlebrooks would strike out going in search of a homer, a walk to Kelly Shoppach would load the bases for Pedro Ciriaco. Once again called on in a big moment, Ciriaco came through, lining a single through the right side of the infield to plate one run and reload the bases for Jacoby Ellsbury, who brought in another by drawing a walk. Carl Crawford would cap off the attack, bouncing a high chopper over the head of Justin Verlander and under the hand of Omar Infante, trying to catch Crawford by barehanding the ball. Crawford reaced, two runs scored, and the Sox took a 4-1 lead.
Ultimately things would get tense right before the anti-climactic conclusion. With one out and one on, Franklin Morales took over for Clayton Mortensen in the sixth and, after recording a ground out, loaded the bases to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. That was when the umps called for the tarp. With no end to the rain in sight after two hours, the game was called and the Sox took their fourth straight win.
|Final - 7.31.2012||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Boston Red Sox||0||0||0||4||0||0||0||0||X||4||6||0|
|WP: Clayton Mortensen (1 - 0)
SV: Franklin Morales (1)
LP: Justin Verlander (11 - 7)