2012-04-09 / Sports

Red Sox bullpen implodes not once, but twice

BY NOAH TRISTER The Associated Press


BOSTON RED SOX pitcher Alfredo Aceves, right, stands on the mound as Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run to tie the baseball game at 10-10 in the ninth inning on Sunday in Detroit. The Tigers defeated the Red Sox 13-12 in 11 innings. 
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BOSTON RED SOX pitcher Alfredo Aceves, right, stands on the mound as Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run to tie the baseball game at 10-10 in the ninth inning on Sunday in Detroit. The Tigers defeated the Red Sox 13-12 in 11 innings. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS DETROIT — Alex Avila’s drive sailed to deep right field, barely clearing both an outfielder and a wall.

An exhilarating opening series at Comerica Park was finally over, and the Detroit catcher could look forward to some much-needed rest.

Avila’s two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning gave the Tigers a stunning 13-12 victory over Boston on Sunday, leaving the Red Sox winless in three games under new manager Bobby Valentine.

Detroit swept the seasonopening series, scoring 26 runs and winning twice in its final at-bat.

The Tigers trailed 10-7 on Sunday when Miguel Cabrera tied the game with a three-run shot off Alfredo Aceves in the ninth. Boston then scored twice in the 11th, but Mark Melancon (0-2) couldn’t hold the lead.

Cabrera and Prince Fielder singled with one out before a wild pitch sent Cabrera to third and Delmon Young’s sacrifice fly cut the margin in half. Avila followed with a drive to right and Cody Ross tried to make a leaping catch, but the ball appeared to hit a restraining gate just above the wall before caroming back onto the field.

Avila paused near second before being waved around the bases by the umpires. The play was not reviewed. Valentine said he asked and was assured by umpires that the ball had clearly hit the railing above the fence.

It’s certainly rare for the Red Sox: They lost for the first time when scoring 12 runs or more since a 22-13 loss to the Chicago White Sox on May 31, 1970, according to STATS LLC.

Duane Below (2-0) got one out for the win — even though Detroit manager Jim Leyland said he wouldn’t be available — in a game that lasted 4 hours, 45 minutes. Cabrera had five RBIs.

The Red Sox and New York Yankees are both off to 0-3 starts — the first time that’s happened since 1966, according to STATS LLC.

Boston is without newly acquired closer Andrew Bailey, who had surgery on his right thumb. Melancon and Aceves are the primary candidates to close in Bailey’s absence, and both blew saves on Sunday.

Nick Punto and Dustin Pedroia hit RBI singles in the 11th to give Boston the lead, but it didn’t hold up. Adrian Gonzalez homered earlier for the Red Sox.

“Our guys played a hell of a game,” Valentine said. “We had a walk-off loss on opening day, then got beat 10-0 and were down 4-0 in the first inning today — but we fought back and took them 11 innings.”

Detroit beat the Red Sox 3-2 in Thursday’s opener on a ninthinning hit by Austin Jackson, then cruised to a blowout Saturday. The Tigers seemed on their way to another easy win when Jhonny Peralta’s three-run double in the first inning gave them a 4-0 lead, but starter Max Scherzer couldn’t hold it.

Scherzer allowed seven runs on eight hits in 2.2 innings, but Boston’s Clay Buchholz wasn’t much better. He allowed seven runs on eight hits in four innings in what was his first start since June because of a stress fracture in his back.

Buchholz had gone 42 consecutive starts since the beginning of 2010 without allowing more than five earned runs.

Detroit reliever Daniel Schlereth allowed a two-run homer to Gonzalez on the first pitch he threw after coming on in the sixth. That gave Boston a 9-7 lead, and Vicente Padilla pitched four scoreless innings of relief for the Red Sox after replacing Buchholz.

The 34-year-old Padilla kept the powerful Detroit lineup off balance, at one point lobbing consecutive pitches of 54 and 52 mph on the stadium gun to Fielder in the seventh.

Punto made it 10-7 with an RBI infield single in the ninth, but Jackson and Brennan Boesch led off the bottom of the inning with singles, and Cabrera tied it.

“We’ve got to get this straight: It’s not about Prince and me,” Cabrera said. “We’ve got 25 guys, it’s about the Detroit Tigers, it’s about everybody here. We feel comfortable about everybody here so let’s play ball and play hard.”

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