The Tigers had their first of three or so good scoring chances in the first inning, when they attacked Lackey aggressively, putting runners on the corners with two out and Victor Martinez batting. Martinez flied out to end the threat. The Tigers didn’t really threaten again until the 5th, when Jhonny Peralta led off with a double to deep left center. After Alex Avila advanced him to third with a ground out to second, Omar Infante and Andy Dirks followed up with disappointing at bats, as Infante struck out and Dirks grounded out weakly to second to end yet another threat.
In the 7th inning, Napoli homered to give the Sox a 1-0 lead following a David Ortiz ground out. Verlander followed up with strikeouts of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jonny Gomes, but the damage had been done.
The Tigers threatened again in the 7th, eventually getting two on with two out. Unfortunately for the Tigers, that threat fizzled following an Infante ground out.
In the 8th, José Iglesias pinch hit for Dirks and struck out looking, then Austin Jackson walked and Torii Hunter singled, with Jackson scampering to third. Miguel Cabrera came up with a chance to do damage, but expanded the strike zone for the Sox reliever, Junichi Tazawa, and struck out swinging. The Red Sox coser, Koji Uehara, came on to face Fielder and struck him out to end the inning.In the 9th, José Veras came on, signaling the end of Verlander’s night. Veras struck out Dustin Pedroia swinging, and then gave way to lefty Phil Coke. Coke, who hadn’t pitched in a game situation in quite some time, faced David Ortiz, whom he’s held to 2-for-18 lifetime, and got Ortiz to ground out harmlessly into the overshift. After Coke did his job, Leyland brought in Al Alburquerque to face Napoli; Alburqurque induced a ground out to shortstop to end the inning.
Victor Martinez led off the Tigers’ 9th with a single, and was immediately lifted for the pinch runner, Hernan Perez. Peralta came up with a chance to be the hero, but was forced to chase a bad pitch after a low strike call and grounded into a double play that all but ended the game. Avila struck out swinging to actually end the game.
The Tigers will look to avoid falling into an even deeper hole tomorrow when they send Doug Fister (0-0, 4.50 ERA) out to take on the Red Sox. The Red Sox will send trade deadline acquisition Jake Peavy (0-0, 1.59 ERA) out to face the Tigers.
The Tigers went down 2-1 to Oakland in a best-of-5. They’re down 2-1 again, but it’s a best-of-7 series, so all hope is not lost just yet. They need to get some timely hits though.