The Red Sox shook off a nasty Pirates sweep with a come-from-behind win on Thursday, spoiling the Tigers home opener in Detroit, 6-3.
Chris Sale, in his second start of the year, looked as though he might not escape the first inning today, walking the first two Tigers of the game. “I don’t know if I’ve ever thrown eight straight balls in my life,” Sale said after the game (he hadn’t). “That was definitely interesting.”
But in the end, Sale walked away with a win, his first against Detroit in nearly five years, and his first overall winning decision since September 22, 2021.
Sale did, in fact, regain his composure, ultimately lasting 5.0 innings and allowing three runs on three hits. He walked three, but also struck out seven Tigers. It was Sale’s first game with seven punch outs since October 3, 2021.
After Sale, the bullpen was terrific once again, with 4.0 scoreless, innings contributed by John Schreiber, Chris Martin, Ryan Brasier, and Kenley Jansen.
For Jansen, who came to Boston this season with the eighth-most saves in MLB history (391), it was his first in a Red Sox uniform. “Man, it feels awesome, the first of many,” Jansen said after the win, telling reporters he’s keeping the ball he used in today’s outing as a momento. “It had a different feel, that first save as a Red Sox.”
Sale said that even after he had allowed two Tigers runs in the second inning, Sox batters told him they’d break through. “The whole time they kept telling me, ‘Hey, we’re going to pick you up.'” Those positive sentiments helped Sale stay focused. “The confidence they have in themselves gives me confidence to go out there and just keep battling.”
Boston had seven hits in the game, four going for extra-bases with a double and a home run for Rafael Devers and then a three-run blast for Adam Duvall that put Boston ahead 6-3 in the sixth. Duvall’s home run was crushed at 414 feet and estimated to be a round-tripper in 28 of the 30 Major League ballparks.
Over the first seven game of the new season Devers has batted .323 with three doubles and two home runs. Duvall, who collected three more RBI today, is tied for the fifth-most in franchise history for the first seven games of a season.
Duvall’s 12 RBI over his six games in 2023 is the most ever by any Boston player in his first six games with the team, blowing past the previous record of 10 RBI by Eduardo Núñez (2017), Jake Jones (1947), and Carl Reynolds (1934).
Additional game notes
Kiké Hernández was charged with his third error of the season after a low throw to first that allowed Spencer Torkelson to reach. It’s the most errors in the Majors at this point.
Justin Turner was 0-for-3 on Thursday but still reached base after being hit by a pitch in the fourth. Turner has reached safely in all seven games thus far. Turner’s 14 times on base is the most in a player’s first seven games with the Red Sox since Kyle Schwarber in August 2021 (also 14).
Devers’ two hits gives him four multi-hit games so far, tied for the Major League lead.
Duvall’s two-out home run extended his Major League lead for two-out RBI this season to nine. No other Boston batter has more than three.
Tigers pitchers managed just three strikeouts in Thursday’s game (two to Reese McGuire and one to Duvall). Last season Boston had just two games with three or fewer strikeouts. Detroit pitching has not been limited to three strikeouts against Boston since June 6, 2018, a 7-1 Sox win.