Red Sox 5, Tigers 3
Kim earned his third save in three nights and fourth of the season overall with a perfect ninth inning as Boston beat the Detroit Tigers 5-3 on Friday.
It was the fourth win in a row for the Red Sox, who beat the Tigers for the fifth time this season. The loss snapped Detroit’s three-game winning streak.
“We came here after a great series (sweep) in Toronto, and it was important to win the first game,” said winning pitcher John Burkett (7-4), who scattered four hits over seven innings to win for the fourth time in five decisions.
“We’ve been playing well,” Burkett said. “Everything is in place now. Our bullpen is doing a great job. We believe in them now, and that’s a great feeling to get, to know that when the bullpen’s in it’s light’s out, game over.”
Burkett gave up three hits in the third, when the Tigers scored twice to cut the Boston lead to 4-2. But, after Detroit’s Carlos Pena homered to lead off the fifth, Burkett, Alan Embree, and Kim combined to retire the last 15 Tigers in order.
“I thought it was a well-pitched game,” Boston manager Grady Little said. “(Burkett) got in trouble that inning, and then he made some good pitches. I thought Embree was as sharp as he’s been all season, and (Kim) just shut them down.”
The Red Sox bullpen has not allowed an earned run in its last 15 1-3 innings, the last 14 of which have been scoreless, going back to Tuesday’s game in Toronto.
“What that does is that it settles eveyrone in,” Little said. “It gives the whole club the idea that once you take the lead, you know the game’s over.”
Embree is enjoying the success.
“We’ve been criticized all year, which has been tough, but it’s been just,” said Embree, who pitched the eighth. “Now we’re doing what we’ve been trying to do all year.”
Jason Veritek, who had two hits, added an insurance run with a seventh-inning homer off the foul pole in right field, his 16th of the season.
“We had let them back into the game a little bit,” said Boston’s Todd Walker, who hit two doubles and scored twice. “But that home run was big. Now they’re down two, and they need more than one guy to get on base. That’s a big difference.”
Detroit manager Alan Trammell agreed.
“We kept it interesting,” he said. “But to fall behind 4-0 was probably too much for us to overcome.”
The Red Sox did that by scoring two runs in each of the first two innings. Those runs came off Detroit starter Mike Maroth (4-13), who tied teammate Jeremy Bonderman for the most losses in the major leagues. Maroth allowed four runs in 5 2-3 innings. He walked three, struck out four and hit a batter.
Burkett gave up three runs, struck out four and walked one. He retired the last nine batters he faced.
“It was good to see us jump out there and get a couple of runs in each inning,” Little said. “That was a good feeling, since I knew we had (Kim) on the back end.”
The Tigers made it 4-2 in the third on Alex Sanchez’s two-run double.
Garciaparra broke out of an 0-for-12 slump with the second-inning single. He went 1-for-4 and was hit by a pitch. … Walker’s doubles came after a 6-for-44 slump. … Boston center fielder Johnny Damon (bruised left hip) sat out for the second consecutive game. … Trammell said that reliever Danny Patterson, who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since arm surgery in June 2002, is “on track” to be recalled from Triple-A Toledo after the All-Starbreak.