Red Sox lose opener to Tigers, 3-2

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Red Sox lose opener to Tigers, 3-2

DETROIT -- On the first day of the 2012 season, Justin Verlander picked up right where he left off in 2011.
So did the Red Sox.
The Tigers' right-hander -- the 2011 A.L. MVP and Cy Young Award winner -- shut out the Sox on two hits over eight innings and seemed headed for victory when he handed a 2-0 lead to closer Jose Valverde . . . who converted all 49 of his save opportunities last year.
The Red Sox, losers of 20 of their last 27 in the final month of last season, rallied for two runs off Valverde and tied the score. But -- like they did so often last September -- they flubbed away the chance for a stirring victory when the bullpen tag team of Mark Melancon and Alfredo Aceves gave up the winning run and the Sox dropped their opener, 3-2, Thursday afternoon ay Comerica Park.
Trailing 2-0, Dustin Pedroia led off the ninth with a double to right and moved to third on a single by Adrian Gonzalez. David Ortiz drove him home with a sacrifice fly, making it 2-1.
Valverde seemed poised to close it out when he struck out Kevin Youkilis. But pinch-runner Darnell McDonald stole second and came home on a game-trying triple into the right-field corner by Ryan Sweeney.
Melancon, however, set the stage by allowing one-out singles to Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila. Manager Bobby Valentine called on Aceves, who hit Ramon Santiago to load the bases. And Austin Jackson then shot a hot grounder down the third-base line past Nick Punto for the game-winning hit.
Only once did the Sox manage to get two runners on base in the same inning against Verlander. But he struck out Ortiz with Pedroia on second and Gonzalez on first to end the sixth.
Jon Lester matched Verlander nearly pitch for pitch, but finally blinked in the seventh. With two outs and nobody on, he allowed back-to-back doubles to Peralta and Avila, pushing across the game's first run.
Detroit made it 2-0 in the eighth off Vicente Padilla on a sacrifice fly by Prince Fielder.

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Ex-Patriots DE Chris Long signs two-year deal with Eagles

Ex-Patriots DE Chris Long signs two-year deal with Eagles

After eight playoff-less seasons with the Rams, Chris Long came to his father's hometown town -- the Patriots -- in 2016 with one goal: To win a championship. And he did, even though he wasn't an every-down player for the first time in his career.

Now his goal is to play regularly again. So he's headed to the city where his father played collegiately -- Philadelphia -- to try and make that happen.

Long, 32, the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Howie Long (a Charlestown native and Villanova product), signed a two-year contract with the Eagles Tuesday:


CSN Philly reports that Long isn't guaranteed a starting job on the Eagles' defensive line, but will be a valuable addition in any case:

The Eagles had a definite need -- and likely still do -- at defense end following the departure of Connor Barwin. . . . This signing doesn't mean Long will come in and start. The Eagles still have Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry under contract. But, at the very least, this is a depth signing to bring in a veteran locker room presence, like the one they lost when Barwin left.

Long had four sacks and 10 quarterback hits in 16 games for New England and was an integral part of a defense that allowed an NFL-low 250 points.