May 29, 2011: Tigers 3, Red Sox 0

May 29, 2011: Tigers 3, Red Sox 0
May 30, 2011, 6:42 pm
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By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

DETROIT All good things must come to an end, and so the Red Sox five-game win streak ended with a 3-0 loss in Detroit Sunday night. Their loss bookends their 5-2 road trip, which began in Cleveland on May 23 with a loss.

Josh Beckett took the loss, falling to 4-2, with a 1.80 ERA. Beckett went six innings, giving up two runs on five hits, with a season-high five walks, and five strikeouts. Beckett threw 107 pitches, 65 for strikes.

Beckett gave up as many runs in the first inning, two, as he allowed in his previous five outings, spanning 30 innings.

Justin Verlander earned the win, improving to 5-3. He went 7 23 scoreless innings, giving up four hits and two walks with three strikeouts. He threw a career-high 132 pitches, 83 strikes. His final pitching, walking Jacoby Ellsbury in the eighth, was a 100-mph fastball.

The Tigers did all their damage against Beckett in the first inning. Beckett struck out Austin Jackson, leading off, before allowing the next four batters to reach base. Andy Dirks walked and scored on Brennan Boeschs double to right. Boesch then scored on Miguel Cabreras single to right. It was Cabreras first career hit off Beckett. Victor Martinez, who went 3-for-3 against Beckett, singled to right before Beckett could retire Don Kelly on a fly ball to Carl Crawford in left and Alex Avila on a called strike, on a curveball.

The Sox best chance to score came in the eighth. J.D. Drew hit a one-out single and took second on center fielder Austin Jacksons bobble. After Jason Varitek struck out, looking at a Verlander curveball, Ellsbury worked Detroits ace for a six-pitch walk, driving Verlander from the game. But Joaquin Benoit came in and retired Pedroia on a fly out to Dirks in left.

The Tigers added another run in the eighth off Scott Atchison, who gave up a lead-off double to Cabrera and an RBI single to Kelly.

Jose Valverde, who coughed up the go-ahead home run to Ortiz in the first game, pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 12th save of the season.

Player of the Game: Justin Verlander

After his team had lost the first three games of the four-game series, Verlander shutdown the Sox over 7 23 scoreless innings to the win, improving to 5-3 with a 3.12 ERA. He gave up four hits and two walks with three strikeouts. He threw a career-high 132 pitches, 83 strikes. His final pitch, walking Jacoby Ellsbury in the eighth, was a 100-mph fastball.

And its not just his fastball, said Jason Varitek. Hes got a lot of weapons.

In his last four starts against the Red Sox, Verlander has pitched a combined 30 23 innings, giving up six earned runs for a 1.76 ERA.

Honorable Mention: Brennan Boesch

Boesch entered the game 0-for-3 in his career against Beckett. In his first at-bat he recorded his first hit against the Sox right-hander. It would prove to be all the offense the Tigers would need.

In the first inning with Andy Dirks on first with a walk, Boeschs double to right scored Dirks with the Tigers first run. Boesch then scored on Miguel Cabreras single to right.

Boeschs double was his only hit of the game, but it was the difference maker.

The Goat: Josh Beckett

Beckett could just as easily been named in the Honorable Mention category. Although he took the loss, falling to 4-2 (1.80 ERA), Beckett pitched well enough to keep the Sox in the game. He went six innings, giving up two runs on five hits, with a season-high five walks, and five strikeouts. Beckett threw 107 pitches, 65 for strikes. He gave up as many runs in the first inning, two, as he allowed in his previous five outings, spanning 30 innings.

He gave up two runs on a walk and three hits in the first inning. After that, he allowed just two runners Danny Worth in the second and Victor Martinez in the third to advance as far as second base.

Turning Point: Sox miss their chance

The Sox best chance to score came in the eighth. With Verlander still in the game and approaching his career-high in pitches, J.D. Drew hit a one-out single and took second on center fielder Austin Jacksons bobble. After Jason Varitek struck out, looking at a Verlander curveball, Jacoby Ellsbury worked Detroits ace for a six-pitch walk, driving Verlander from the game. Verlanders final pitch was a 100-mph fastball. But Joaquin Benoit came in and retired Pedroia on a fly out to Dirks in left, ending the Sox' best threat.

Jose Valverde, who gave up David Ortizs ninth-inning, go-ahead home run in the first game, pitched a perfect ninth to secure the win.

By the Numbers: .134

After batting .295 (64-for-217) in the first six games of the seven-game road trip, the Red Sox could do very little against Verlander and the Tigers in the finale, going 4-for-30, batting .134. In all, they hit .275 on the road trip. Their team average is now .267.

Quote of Note:

The last games what we care about and we lost tonight. But were playing better baseball, giving ourselves a chance. Well get home and play soon. -- Manager Terry Francona on the Red Sox' 5-2 road trip

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen