As thought heading into the game with two of the top pitchers in the American League going head-to-head in Jon Lester and Max Scherzer, it was a pitcher's duel with Scherzer topping Lester ever so slightly in the Tigers' 1-0 win over the Red Sox Friday night at Fenway Park. The game was delayed due to rain for 47 minutes in the top of the fourth inning.
Scherzer went 6+ scoreless innings allowing just three hits, walking four and striking out seven. The Red Sox threatened in the seventh with runners on first and second with no outs as the Tigers called on their bullpen after Mike Carp led the inning off with a single against Scherzer. After Xander Bogaerts was hit by a pitch, they were able to get out of the jam by getting a strikeout of Jackie Bradley Jr. followed by a ground ball double play from pinch-hitter A.J. Pierzynski.
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Lester didn't have his best stuff, especially with two innings throwing 20 or more pitches, but it was a solid outing considering the two poor innings and the rain delay. Lester allowed a run in a 27-pitch first inning, but settled down after that going five complete innings allowing the one run on four hits, while walking three and striking out seven.
"They challenged him early on with a deep pitch count inning, a couple of walks mixed in there. He was able to get a big strikeout of (Alex) Avila to keep them to one run," Farrell said of the first inning. "With the rain delay we were in that situation nearly an hour and wasn't going to push Jon anymore than the five innings tonight, but to think that one run in the first inning would be the difference in the game we probably didn't anticipate that, but it was a well pitched game on both sides."
Burke Badenhop went 1 2/3 innings followed by Edward Mujica going 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief of Lester. Junichi Tazawa threw a perfect ninth inning as well.
The teams will continue their weekend series Saturday night (7:10, NESN) where John Lackey will take on Rick Porcello.
What they'll be saying: The Red Sox fell back below .500 at 20-21 with the loss and have now played in 15 one-run games, going 5-10 in those contests. It was their third shutout of the season and was their first 1-0 loss since June 28, 2012 ... It was another tremendous pitching duel involving Lester, this time against Scherzer, who will also be a free agent at the end of the season. Normally any time you limit the opponent to just one run you'd expect to win, but against Scherzer it wasn't the case as he was on his game throughout, picking up his sixth consecutive win ... Bogaerts "dodged a bullet" according to Farrell after being hit by a pitch on the wrist, but Bogaerts said he expects to play Saturday. Will Middlebrooks' finger swelled up late in the game after attempting to catch a hard liner by Ian Kinsler in the second at-bat of the game, which was part of the reason Pierzynski pinch-hit for him.