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Detroit Tigers finish comeback in extra innings for 8-4 win over Boston Red Sox

BOSTON — Detroit Tigers right-hander Casey Mize has completed 11 starts in his return from elbow surgery and back surgery, but he still isn't the best version of himself on the mound.

Facing the Boston Red Sox, Mize allowed three runs — two earned runs — on five hits and four walks with four strikeouts across four innings, throwing 82 pitches.

"The execution issue was the biggest thing," manager A.J. Hinch said. "I thought his stuff was OK. I think he had to battle and didn't execute on a lot of pitches. He had a lot of hard outs, and they made him work a ton. He had high pitch counts every inning."

The Tigers bailed out Mize, who owns a 4.70 ERA, by mounting a comeback in the second half of the game and finishing strong in extra innings for an 8-4 win over the Red Sox in Sunday's finale of the four-game series at Fenway Park.

An RBI double from pinch-hitter Andy Ibáñez, replacing Colt Keith for matchup reasons, drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning, the first of four runs.

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The Tigers (29-30), now 10 games out of first place in the American League Central, split the four-game series with the Red Sox to kickstart a seven-game road trip.

"Definitely just need to be more efficient," Mize said. "Four innings isn't good enough. Four walks, some long at-bats just didn't help the pitch count, then had a row of lefties come up. The bullpen definitely picked me up, but I gave them too many innings to cover."

Detroit Tigers right fielder Wenceel Perez slides safe into home plate covered by Boston Red Sox catcher Reese McGuire during the sixth inning at Fenway Park in Boston on Sunday, June 2, 2024.
Detroit Tigers right fielder Wenceel Perez slides safe into home plate covered by Boston Red Sox catcher Reese McGuire during the sixth inning at Fenway Park in Boston on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

The Tigers grabbed a 4-3 lead with four runs between the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, including two runs in the seventh, but the Red Sox answered with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Rafael Devers drove a middle-down slider from right-handed reliever Alex Faedo for a 408-foot home run to center field — clearing the Green Monster — to tie the game, 4-4.

It was his 11th home run this season.

A single and two walks loaded the bases for the Red Sox with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Right-handed reliever Jason Foley allowed the hit and left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin issued the two walks, all with two outs. But Chafin escaped the jam by inducing a flyout to the warning track right field in a 2-0 count, forcing extra innings.

The Tigers scored four runs in the top of the 10th inning against left-handed reliever Cam Booser with Ibáñez's RBI double, Javier Báez's two-RBI single and Carson Kelly's RBI double.

Ibánez provided the 5-4 lead after pinch-hitting for Keith — a rookie who has been one of the best hitters for the Tigers since the first week of May — because the Red Sox had a lefty on the mound.

"I like Andy against every lefty in the league," Hinch said. "I don't love hitting for Colt. We're trying to develop a guy who's going to be in there through it all, but in that moment with Andy being on the bench as a huge weapon for us, I'm going to take the at-bat away from Colt because of Andy. If we didn't have Andy, I'm not sure I would have hit for him."

Ibánez is hitting .333 against lefties, whereas Keith is hitting .217 against lefties.

"I feel very good with this team," Ibáñez said, "and I got to be thankful and grateful for being around these guys because they're always cheering for me, rooting for me and telling me to be ready. It's a blessing to be around here."

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Mize finds a way

Mize, the 2018 No. 1 overall draft pick, has struggled in the strikeout and swing-and-miss departments this season. Those two issues have plagued him throughout his entire MLB career.

This time, the lack of command plagued him against the Red Sox.

"He'll hang in there," Hinch said. "He's never not going to stick his nose in there, but he had to work awfully hard to get through his four innings, and that's why I ended up taking him out."

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Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning at Fenway Park in Boston on Sunday, June 2, 2024.
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Casey Mize pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning at Fenway Park in Boston on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

The Red Sox scored one run in each of the first three innings against Mize, but Mize walked one batter in each of his four innings against the Red Sox. He had a difficult time commanding his pitches, specifically his splitter and slider, in the first three innings.

There was a lot of hard contact, too.

The Red Sox averaged a 94.9 mph exit velocity on 11 balls in play.

"I don't know," Mize said. "I felt like I made some good pitches. They're just a good team. Am I surprised when big leaguers hit balls hard? No, not really."

Wilyer Abreu hit a splitter for a double with a 111.8 mph exit velocity; Enmanuel Valdez hit a fastball for an RBI single with a 110.8 mph exit velocity.

The RBI single from Valdez put the Red Sox ahead, 1-0, in the first inning.

Boston Red Sox right fielder Wilyer Abreu scores a run against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Fenway Park in Boston on Sunday, June 2, 2024.
Boston Red Sox right fielder Wilyer Abreu scores a run against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Fenway Park in Boston on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

In the second inning, the Red Sox took a 2-0 lead on Duran's RBI single to center field — a 102.9 mph exit velocity — off Mize's splitter. The run was unearned, though, because of a previous throwing error on a ground ball.

Mize worked ahead 0-2 in the count to Dominic Smith to open the third inning, but then threw four balls in a row to walk him on six pitches. Devers followed up by lacing a slider down the right-field line and into the corner for an RBI triple.

Devers made it 3-0 Red Sox.

Mize recorded two of his four strikeouts in a scoreless fourth inning, which also included a walk. He generated seven whiffs on 30 swings — a 23.3% whiff rate — with three fastballs, two sliders, one splitter and one curveball.

A second half comeback

The run-scoring began for the Tigers in the fifth inning.

Gio Urshela — playing first base instead of the slumping Spencer Torkelson — turning on a slider for a double off the Green Monster in left field against right-hander Brayan Bello. He advanced to third base on Akil Baddoo's single and scored standing up on a wild pitch, cutting the Tigers' deficit to 3-1.

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Urshela helped the Tigers again in the sixth inning.

He drove in Wenceel Pérez, who poked a leadoff single, with a sacrifice fly to center field to make it 3-2. Center fielder Ceddanne Rafaela delivered a strong throw to home plate, but Pérez barely beat the tag attempt from catcher Reese McGuire.

Detroit Tigers center fielder Riley Greene hits a single against the Boston Red Sox during the seventh inning at Fenway Park in Boston on Sunday, June 2, 2024.
Detroit Tigers center fielder Riley Greene hits a single against the Boston Red Sox during the seventh inning at Fenway Park in Boston on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

The Tigers took a 4-3 lead with two runs in the seventh inning, sparked by back-to-back singles from Matt Vierling and Riley Greene to chase Bello from his 11th start.

Right-handed reliever Justin Slaten was greeted by Pérez, who tied the game, 3-3, with an RBI double to the gap in left-center field.

Mark Canha, who returned to the lineup as the designated hitter after missing two games with hip soreness, grounded out for the second out in the seventh inning, but the bouncer up the middle forced the shortstop to slide, so he didn't have time to try to make a play at the plate.

Greene scored easily to take a 4-3 lead.

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him @EvanPetzold.

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Next up: Rangers

Matchup: Tigers (29-30) at Texas (29-30).

First pitch: 8:05 p.m. Monday; Globe Life Field, Arlington, Texas.

TV/radio: Bally Sports Detroit; WXYT-FM (97.1).

Probable pitchers: Tigers — LHP Tarik Skubal (7-1, 2.01 ERA); Rangers — RHP Nathan Eovaldi (2-2, 2.84).

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers complete comeback in 8-4 win over Boston Red Sox