DETROIT -- It was closer than the score would indicate, but it was still the Red Sox's fourth consecutive loss and fourth straight loss to the Detroit Tigers, who broke a five-game losing streak and had only won four of their last 17 coming into the game.
The result: The Tigers scored two in the bottom of the eighth on Victor Martinez's home run and a sacrifice fly to turn a two-run game into the 6-2 final.
Boston doesn't usually lose against a lefty starter (13-9 against southpaws) but Drew Smyly (3-4) held the Sox at bay.
Decreasing effectiveness: Red Sox starter Rubby De La Rosa (1-1) retired the first six batters of the game. But he gave up single runs in the third and fourth innings and back-to-back home runs by Ian Kinsler and Torii Hunter with two out in the fifth. De La Rosa left the game with two on and two out in the sixth, after throwing 96 pitches, 61 for strikes.
De La Rosa's line: Four runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings, two walks and five strikeouts.
Dodging a bullet: Detroit scored a run in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead, but it could have been much worse. After Hunter and Miguel Cabrera opened the inning with singles to put runners on first and third, Martinez stepped to the plate. He launched a long drive into right-center that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. ran down. But Cabrera didn't think Bradley Jr. would catch the ball and was almost to third when Bradley made the play. Hunter scored on the sacrifice fly but Cabrera was easily doubled off. Alex Avila and Austin Jackson followed with singles and Nick Castellanos ended the inning by flying out to the warning track in right.
Pedroia hidden gem: After Detroit tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the third on Castellanos' leadoff double and Andrew Romine's RBI single, Dustin Pedroia made a key play at second base. He had to range to his left to make a nice pickup of Davis' short-hop liner. It appeared as though Pedroia's only play was to first, since he was moving that way. But he made a reverse pivot and threw to shortstop Jonathan Herrera at second to nip Romine for the force out. That kept the double play in order. Kinsler followed with a sharp grounder to Herrera at short, who started an inning-ending double play.
Fast start: The Red Sox led 1-0 after the first two batters on Friday night against Smyly. Brock Holt immediately extended his hitting streak to six games with a leadoff line single to center. Xander Bogaerts then barely missed a two-run homer with a drive off the top of the left-center field fence. It went for a double and easily scored Holt. Pedroia (foul out), David Ortiz (soft ground out) and Jonny Gomes (called out on strikes) followed by making outs to end the half inning.
But then ...: Boston couldn't manage another hit off Smyly until Gomes' two-out double in the fourth. The hard smash, which ate up Castellanos at third, could have easily been called an error. Herrera had a double in the fifth, but the Red Sox didn't score again until the sixth on Gomes' sacrifice fly. Smyly gave up two runs (one earned) and five hits in six innings, walking one and striking out four.