By Jeff Louderback
In Major League Baseball, as a team you are only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher. On Wednesday, Aaron Cook was atrocious for the Boston Red Sox, which saw their four-game winning streak end with a 7-5 loss to Detroit in the finale of a three-game set at Fenway Park.
After grabbing a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Cody Ross lofted an RBI single off Rick Porcello, Cook held the advantage until surrendering a run in the fourth. Then he served up four runs in the fifth with the big hits coming from Miguel Cabrera (a two-run home run) and Prince Fielder (a solo home run).
Cook was charged with six runs and nine hits over 4.2 innings. He permitted 12 runs in 8.2 innings during his last two starts against the Yankees and Tigers. If the sinkerballer remains in the rotation, his next scheduled start will occur against another potent lineup in the Texas Rangers.
Craig Breslow, the left-handed reliever acquired on Tuesday from Arizona, relieved Cook and tossed 1.1 scoreless innings with two strikeouts and no walks.
Trailing 6-1, Boston staged a rally in the bottom of the sixth off Porcello. Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and Ross each singled to load the bases with no outs. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hurt the chances for an explosive inning by grounding into a double play that scored Pedroia. Will Middlebrooks followed with an RBI single, chasing Porcello.
Lefty Phil Coke entered and walked Ryan Kalish before Pedro Ciriaco lined an RBI single, trimming the deficit to 6-4. Jacoby Ellsbury struck out with runners on the corners to end the inning.
The Red Sox pulled within 6-5 when Carl Crawford blasted a solo home run off Coke in the seventh, but Andrew Miller surrendered a critical solo dinger to Delmon Young, who wrapped the ball around the Pesky Pole, to give the Tigers a 7-5 lead in the top of the eighth.
Joaquin Benoit dismissed the Sox in order in the eighth and Jose Valverde retired all three batters he faced in the ninth to secure the win for Detroit.
Now 53-52, Boston dropped to 8.5 games behind the Yankees, which ended a four-game losing streak with a win over Baltimore.
The Red Sox open a four-game series against Minnesota at Fenway Park Thursday night.