Red Sox beat Tigers in the rain, 1-0

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Red Sox beat Tigers in the rain, 1-0

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Victor Martinez returned to Fenway Park Wednesday, inviting the usual questions about whether the Red Sox did the right thing in allowing him to leave as a free agent last off-season.

Then, as if on cue, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, his replacement as the team's No. 1 catcher, made his case with a Wall-scraping, run-scoring double in the bottom of the eighth, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 shutout of the Detroit Tigers.

Saltalamachia's double scored Carl Crawford (walk) from first and snapped a scoreless tie in a game that featured a 26-minute rain delay in the top of the eighth inning.

Clay Buchholz threw a career-high 127 pitches, allowing just four hits, but was left with a no-decision. Daniel Bard, who pitched the eighth, got the win with Jonathan Papelbon nailed down his eight save.

Papelbon allowed a leadoff double to Martinez, putting the potential tying run in scoring postition with no out. But Papelbon got Jhonny Peralta to groundout and he struck out Alex Avila and Ryan Rayburn to end the game.

The win was Boston's fifth in a row -- tying a season high and eighth victory in the last 10 games, moving them two games over .500 for the first time all season.

The Red Sox could mount little against Detroit starter Phil Coke, who limited the Sox to just three hits over the first seven innings.

STAR OF THE GAME: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
The return of Victor Martinez to Fenway Park in an opponent's uniform put the focus squarely on Saltalamacchia and comparing the two players' numbers didn't reflect well on the Red Sox catcher.

But in the eighth inning, with the game scoreless, Saltalamacchia drilled a double off the Wall in left-center, scoring Carl Crawford all the way from first base.

Saltalamacchia may only be hitting .221 with just 10 RBI, but he's been having far better at-bats in the last two weeks and his confidence at the plate seems to be growing daily.

HONORABLE MENTION: Clay Buchholz
Buchholz didn't get the win in the end, but he blanked the Tigers over seven innings, turning in the 11th scoreless outing by a Red Sox starter this year.

Terry Francona showed what kind of trust he has in Buchholz by leaving him out for a career-high 127 pitches. The last one was a swinging strike against Austin Jackson, giving Buchholz a season-high seven strikeouts.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Daniel Schlereth
Detroit manager Jim Leyland went to Schlereth with two out in the eighth and the lefty promptly walked Carl Crawford, then gave up Saltalamacchia's wall-scraping, game-winning double.

TURNING POINT
While Saltalamacchia's run-scoring hit accounted for the only run of the game, this one wasn't locked down until Jonathan Papelbon struck out Alex Avila and Ryan Rayburn with the potential tying run on third base in the top of the ninth inning.

BY THE NUMBERS
Saltalamacchia has just 10 RBI, but five of those have come in close-and-late situations -- i.e., the 7th inning or later with the Sox either ahead by a run, tied or with the tying run on base, at the plate or on deck.

QUOTE OF NOTE
"We certainly didn't bludgeon them to death (four hits) tonight, but Salty took a terrific swing.'' -- Terry Francona

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Chris Sale brings with him to Boston some attitude. He also brings a measure of defiance and, perhaps, a little bit of crazy.

All of which the Red Sox starting staff just may need. And if Sale pitches as he has for much of the past five years, he'll probably be celebrated for it.

I still wonder how it will all play here, especially if he underachieves.

What would we do to him locally if he refused to pitch because he didn't like a certain kind of uniform variation the team was going with? What would we say if he not only refused to pitch, but took a knife to his teammates' uniforms and the team had to scrap the promotion? Sale did exactly that in Chicago last year, after which he threw his manager under the bus for not standing by his players and attacked the team for putting business ahead of winning.

All because he didn't want to wear an untucked jersey?

"(The White Sox throwback uniforms) are uncomfortable and unorthodox,'' said Sale at the time. "I didn't want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn't want anything to alter my mechanics. ... There's a lot of different things that went into it.''

Wearing a throwback jersey would alter his mechanics? Was that a joke? It's hard to imagine he would get away with that in Boston.

Ditto for his support of Adam LaRoche and his involvement of that goofy story last March.
 
LaRoche, you'll remember, retired when the White Sox had the nerve to tell him that his 14-year-old son could not spend as much time around the team as he had grown accustomed to. Sale responded by pitching a fit.

“We got bald-face lied to by someone we’re supposed to be able to trust,'' said Sale of team president Kenny Williams. ``You can’t come tell the players it was the coaches and then tell the coaches it was the players, and then come in and say something completely different. If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.”

On what planet does allowing a 14-year-old kid in a clubhouse have anything to do with winning a title? In what universe does a throwback jersey have anything to do with mechanics? If David Price had said things that stupid last year, he'd still be hearing about it. And it won't be any different for Sale.

Thankfully, Sale's defiance and feistiness extends to the mound. Sale isn't afraid to pitch inside and protect his teammates, leading the American League in hit batsmen each of the last two years. He doesn't back down and loves a fight. And while that makes him sound a little goofy off the field, it should play well on it.

In the meantime, the Sox better hope he likes those red alternate jerseys they wear on Fridays.

E-mail Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast appears daily on CSN.