BOSTON -- The Tigers and Red Sox have the top two offenses in the American League as they entered Monday averaging 5.10 and 5.06 runs per game respectively, but the both offenses were kept at bay in an old-fashioned pitcher's duel Monday afternoon at Fenway Park between John Lackey and Doug Fister.
One bad inning for Lackey was all the Tigers needed, as their two runs in the seventh inning led them to their 3-0 win. Victor Martinez singled to lead-off the inning and then Andy Dirks tripled to the triangle, scoring Martinez. Following a walk, Don Kelly grounded into a double play, but that scored Dirks for the second Tigers run. Detroit added another in the eighth on a Prince Fielder sacrifice fly. Fister shut the Red Sox down throwing seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits. Four walks prevented him from going deeper in the game as he was pulled after throwing 112 pitches.
"He got a number of ground ball double plays when he needed to in the first, second, fifth and again in the seventh" said Red Sox manager John Farrell of Fister. "We put men on base, we just couldn't get the timely hit. To his credit, he put the ball on the ground when needed. Iggy [Jose Iglesias] makes a couple of good play up the middle to turn two and one unassisted."
Lackey delivered another strong performance, but just didn't get any run support, suffering his 12th loss of the season. He went 7 1/3 innings allowing three runs on seven hits, with just five of the seven coming before the seventh. Between the fourth and sixth innings he retired nine straight batters as he continued to impress in his first season back after Tommy John surgery.
Despite the loss, Daniel Nava went 3-for-3 and reached base four times. Matt Thornton relieved Lackey and allowed an inherited runner to score on the sacrifice fly to Fielder, but only allowed one hit in his 1 2/3 innings of work.
The series will continue tomorrow night (7:10, NESN) where Jon Lester will get the ball for the Red Sox and go up against Max Scherzer who is seeking his 20th win of the season.
What they'll be saying: The Red Sox certainly had their chances to put runs on the board, especially early as they had the first two men each in both the first and second innings and then again in the seventh, but couldn't get anything out of it. As a team they went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base ... It was Lackey's 18th quality start of the season with not much showing for it as he's received a team-low 3.77 runs per nine innings this season. His 3.22 ERA is the lowest mark after 25 games in any point of his career, which goes along with what he said following the game when he said, "honestly, this is the best I've ever felt." ... The next two games of the series should provide a good benchmark to where the Red Sox stand when facing a playoff-caliber team.