While this game did not feature the same consistent scoring attack of their last two, it certainly started off similarly enough. After putting up a seven-run first inning on Wednesday and a five-run second, the Sox waited until the third to do the majority of their damage Thursday.
Trailing 2-1 after Wakefield allowed a pair of ground ball singles in the first and a very loud solo shot to Jhonny Peralta in the second, Jacoby Ellsbury immediately erased the Red Sox’ deficit, getting ahead of Detroit starter Rick Porcello 3-1 and pulling the ensuing fastball into the stands in right for his sixth home run of the season.
It would take Porcello three more batters and another two runs to get his first out of the inning, with Dustin Pedroia walking, Adrian Gonzalez singling, and Kevin Youkilis doubling deep to right to bring them both in before David Ortiz hit a lazy fly ball to Austin Jackson.
If that was supposed to be Porcello getting his second wind, however, it didn’t last long. Carl Crawford worked an eight-pitch at bat against him, ending with an inside fastball which Crawford put an Ortiz-like swing on to clear out for his third home run in five games. When all was said-and-done in the third, Porcello had 75 pitches on his arm and was done for the night. That’s three straight starters the Sox have chased before the fourth inning.
If there was a saving grace for Detroit in this game, it was Charlie Furbush saving the pen with a shutdown five-inning effort in relief of Porcello. As tends to be the case against rookie lefties, the Sox had serious trouble seeing Furbush, leading to just four baserunners.
The good news was that they didn’t need the help. After his early troubles, Tim Wakefield found his knuckleball again, and started mowing down opposing batters. While the Tigers would threaten a few more times thanks to a number of leadoff baserunners, Wakefield shut them down each time, finishing the seventh without allowing another run. Daniel Bard finished the seventh with just six pitvhes, and while Jonathan Papelbon did run into some trouble in a non-save ninth, a couple of strikeouts and an impressive grab on a sinking liner from Carl Crawford closed out the game before things got too hairy.