BOSTON -- When Xander Bogaerts came to the plate to start the bottom of the fifth and launched Rick Porcello's 89 mph four-seamer into the third row of the Green Monster seats, there was a sentiment that, just maybe, after 18 scoreless innings, that was the jolt that could break the Red Sox out of this slump.
Instead, the Sox were mostly quiet the rest of the way, dropping a second straight game to the Tigers, 6-1, on Saturday. The only drama coming in the eighth, when manager John Farrell came out to protest a call against Shane Victorino, who was ruled out on batter's interference by plate umpire Clint Fagan on the first-base line.
"To me, from my view, he was already past the ball," Farrell said. Other than that, the Sox blew a chance to blow the game open in the bottom of the fourth, loading up the bases for A.J. Pierzynski after Mike Carp drew a five-pitch walk. Pierzynski came up empty, grounding out to second base. He came in again in the ninth with a chance to score Mike Napoli from second, to salvage something, but all he did was line out to Austin Jackson in center field.
For the second straight night, the Sox were left to chalk up their struggles to good Detroit pitching. Friday night, reigning American League Cy Young winner Max Scherzer tossed a three-hitter, striking out seven and letting his defense take care of the rest. Saturday, it was Porcello's turn, and he picked up his seventh win of the season after allowing six hits and just one run.
Sox hitters struggled early with Porcello's curve, getting too far out in front of it. On the night, weaving in a curve and slider with his four-seam fastball, Porcello induced 10 flyouts and three groundouts. His defense, for the most part, took care of the rest.
"They throw a lot of strikes -- and for the second night in a row, [they'd] induce a ground ball when needed," Farrell said. "[Porcello] attacked the strike zone, didn't issue any walks to build an inning other than Carp in the fourth. They've done a good job. Their defense has obviously got improved range from a year ago. That's a good team."