BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox took advantage of a subpar night by reigning MVP Justin Verlander Tuesday night, beating the Detroit Tigers 4-1 in a rain-shortened game for their fourth straight victory.
Verlander had his streak of pitching at least six innings halted at 63 straight. It was the longest such streak since Steve Carlton went 69 consecutive starts from Sept. 1979 to April 1982. It was also the longest by a Tigers pitcher since at least 1918.
The game was played in a light steady rain from nearly the start and finally was delayed when the Tigers loaded the bases in the sixth. The game was called after a delay of 1 hour, 45 minutes.
Boston took the lead with a four-run fourth, using a pair of walks and an infield hit to spark its rally.
Clayton Mortensen (1-0) got the win for Boston, going 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
Verlander (11-7) gave up four runs, three earned in five innings, walking four and fanning six.
The Tigers have lost five of six games.
Boston starter Josh Beckett left the game in the third inning with what the team announced as a "back spasm."
Trailing 1-0, the Red Sox scored four runs off Verlander in the fourth inning. They loaded the bases on singles by Cody Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia before Kelly Shoppach walked. Pedro Ciriaco tied it with a single to right. Jacoby Ellsbury then drew a bases-loaded walk before Carl Crawford hit a slow roller past Verlander that second baseman Omar Infante couldn't bare hand. The ball rolled behind him to short right, allowing Ciriaco to also score from second to make it 4-1. Crawford got one RBI on the play, and Infante was charged with an error for the second run scoring.
A subject of trade rumors the past few days and of the fans' ire most of the season, Beckett could be sidelined for a while after he was lifted with the injury in the third inning.
Until the injury, it had been his best start in a while.
He entered the game with a 10.06 ERA in first innings this year, but retired the first eight batters he faced before Infante beat out a slow grounder to short. Beckett hit the next batter, Austin Jackson, then walked the following two, forcing in a run. On ball four to Miguel Cabrera, he waved to the dugout a couple of times with his glove. A trainer and manager Bobby Valentine came out, and he walked off the mound to a few boos.
Mortensen relieved, and Prince Fielder hit a long foul ball on the first pitch before flying out to end the inning.
Boston had loaded the bases against Verlander in the first, but Saltalamacchia struck out swinging on a 96 mph fastball to end the inning.
Earlier in the day the Red Sox made a couple of deals at the non-waiver trading deadline. Boston acquired lefty reliever Craig Breslow from Arizona for reliever Matt Albers and outfielder Scott Podsednik. The Red Sox also dealt minor league first baseman Lars Anderson to Cleveland for Double A pitcher Steven Wright.
"We've been looking for another lefty. We felt like early in the year when we had three lefties in the pen, our pen was really rolling the best," GM Ben Cherington said. "It gives Bobby (Valentine) a chance to match up and use all three guys. It certainly helps to give Bobby some flexibility the rest of the year if we want to use (Franklin) Morales as a starter. Hopefully a couple of good benefits for the move."
But it also was far from the big deals that were rumored the past few days, mainly involving Beckett.
"We worked hard the past few days on a 1,000 different concepts," Cherington said. "In the end we would rather not make decisions that would have ended up hurting us in the long run. Most importantly, we're happy with the guys we have here and we believe in the group."
NOTES: The Red Sox placed outfielder Ryan Sweeney on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured knuckle on the pinkie of his left hand. He injured it punching a door after his eighth inning ground out in Boston's 7-3 win Monday. He tweeted an apology to the fans and his teammates Monday morning. Valentine and Cherington both said he's likely out for the remainder of the regular season. "Boys will be boys," Valentine said before the game. "The door he happened to hit was dented. It wasn't the first time someone did that." To take his place on the roster, outfielder Ryan Kalish was recalled from Class AAA Pawtucket. ... Mortensen was called up before the game to replace right-hander Matt Albers, with Breslow not yet reporting to the team. ... Valentine also said shortstop Mike Aviles, who missed his third straight game with turf toe, had an injection and they "hope it will alleviate it." ... Verlander needed 35 pitches to get out of the first inning. ... Adrian Gonzalez walked in the first inning, his first walk since June 24. ... Red Sox right-hander Scott Atchison is going to get a second opinion on an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. ... Cabrera entered the night riding a tear, hitting .348 with 18 homers and 62 RBI in 73 games since early May.