By Jeff Louderback
The Red Sox could have departed Detroit with three wins in the four-game series. Instead, they returned to Boston with three losses, two of which saw the bullpen – especially Andrew Bailey – implode.
On Sunday, the Red Sox owned a 4-3 lead entering the bottom of the seventh after Felix Doubront logged five innings and Junichi Tazawa tossed a scoreless sixth. The embattled Bailey – who was demoted from the closer’s role after surrendering a two-run, walk-off home run to Jhonny Peralta on Friday – took the mound and served up a leadoff single to Austin Jackson, retired Torii Hunter on a line out and allowed a base hit to Miguel Cabrera.
Andrew Miller was summoned, and he permitted a single to Prince Fielder to load the bases. Miller nearly escaped the threat. He struck out Victor Martinez, and raced to an 0-2 count on Peralta but then hit him with a wild four-seam fast ball to tie the game at 4-4.
Detroit grabbed the lead in the bottom of the eighth with help from a botched call. Daniel Nava, who took over in right field for Shane Victorino (who injured himself again after running into a wall), hauled in Avisail Garcia’s deep fly ball at his waist, but then dropped the ball on the transfer from the glove to his hand. Umpire Mike DiMuro inaccurately ruled it a drop and not a catch, allowing Garcia to reach second and leading to Red Sox manager John Farrell’s first ejection of the season.
Moments later, Miller fielded Bryan Holaday’s sacrifice bunt attempt and his throw pulled Dustin Pedroia off the bag for another error. Miller walked Jackson to load the bases, prompting fill-in manager Torey Lovullo to bring in Alex Wilson with an unenviable bases loaded, no outs situations.
Hunter lofted a sacrifice fly to give Detroit a 5-4 lead. Wilson issued an intentional walk to Cabrera and then allowed a two-run single to Prince Fielder.
Boston lost on an afternoon when it reached Justin Verlander for four runs and seven hits in five innings. Doubront lasted five frames as well, allowing three runs, four hits and four walks.
Now 45-33, the Red Sox have a two-game lead over second place Baltimore in the American League East as they begin a nine-game home stand with two games against Colorado, four versus the hot Toronto Blue Jays and three against San Diego.