BOSTON — Jarrod Saltalamacchia was behind the plate for Clay Buchholz’s seven shutout innings. Then he drove in the only run of a rainy game in the eighth.
The catcher who has been heating up after a slow start drove a run-scoring double through the mist and off the left field wall and the Boston Red Sox won their fifth straight, 1-0 over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night.
“It seemed like the first to score was going to win the game,” Saltalamacchia said. “Both pitchers pitched great. … They had a lot of situations to score and we had Buck to hold them down.”
Both starters went seven innings. Buchholz, who won his previous three starts, struck out seven and allowed four hits and one walk. Phil Coke, who was 0-3 in his previous five starts, had four strikeouts and gave up three hits and a walk.
“I can’t be upset with anything other than the fact that we didn’t end up winning,” Coke said.
Daniel Bard (1-3), who replaced Buchholz to start the eighth, threw one pitch before the game was delayed for 26 minutes by rain. When play resumed, he retired the side in order.
The Tigers had plenty of chances to score. They were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and the game ended with Victor Martinez standing on third as Jonathan Papelbon struck out Ryan Raburn for his eighth save in nine opportunities.
“He’s got a lot on his fastball,” Saltalamacchia said. “He’s controlling the ball where he wants to put it. He’s fun to catch and definitely fun to watch.”
The feeling in the Tigers bullpen about one of their relievers was less pleasant.
Ryan Perry set down the first two Red Sox batters in the bottom of the eighth. But manager Jim Leyland brought in lefty Daniel Schlereth (0-1) to face lefty Carl Crawford. The move backfired when Crawford walked on a full count. Leyland visited Schlereth on the mound but left him in.
“I just went out and told him, ‘Just don’t get caught in between Crawford stealing and the hitter. If we’ve got to hold him, throw over there,’” Leyland said. “It seemed like he got caught a little and left (the pitch) up.”
Saltalamacchia pounded it off the wall on a night when the rain kept other balls from traveling far and gave outfielders trouble seeing them.
“We certainly didn’t bludgeon them to death tonight, but Salty took a terrific swing. He’s a big strong kid,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “Carl put it in another gear because, off the bat, I don’t think that’s … sure that he’s going to be able to score and we made it hold up.”
In his last nine starts, Saltalamacchia is 6-for-21, raising his batting average from .194 to .221.
The Tigers threatened in the ninth when Victor Martinez, who caught for the Red Sox last year, led off with a double. He took third on a ground out before Papelbon struck out the last two batters.
Detroit lost for just the second time in nine games in a game played in a steady drizzle that got much heavier in the top of the seventh. In spite of that, the starting pitchers were outstanding.
Buchholz escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, striking out Austin Jackson with his career-high 127th pitch on a full count. Jackson tried to hold up his swing and plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth checked with first base umpire Gary Cederstrom, who signaled that Jackson had swung.
“I was walking off like there wasn’t any doubt,” Buchholz said. “I didn’t get a good look at it.”
Leyland agreed that Jackson swung.
“I didn’t think so at first,” he said. “It might have been wishful thinking on my part. My first base coach said he did.”
Through six innings, each team managed just three hits.
For Detroit, all three were doubles — by Miguel Cabrera in the fourth, Alex Avila in the fifth and Jackson in the sixth. Jackson moved to third on a sacrifice, but Buchholz retired the next two batters.
Boston got a one-out single by Dustin Pedroia in the first and a leadoff single by Kevin Youkilis in the second, but both were out when the next batter hit into a double play. Jed Lowrie singled with two outs in the fifth and didn’t move up.
Notes: Boston RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka went on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained ligament in his pitching elbow that could sideline him for a month. The move came two days after another starter, John Lackey, went on the DL with a strained right elbow. … Tigers DH Martinez said the time he spent with Boston after being traded there in July 31, 2009 was “the best time of my career.” He said “we did everything we could do to come back” but signed a four-year, $50 million contract with Detroit last November. … Both teams had their previous games rained out on Tuesday. … The Tigers have at least one extra-base hit in all 42 games, the second longest streak in team history. The longest is 51 in 1919.
Mets 1, Nationals 0
NEW YORK — For Dillon Gee, this was nearly a repeat performance. For the Washington Nationals, this was a replay — or rather, it left them wanting to see one.
Gee shut down Washington once again, tossing hitless ball until pitcher Livan Hernandez grounded a clean single with two outs in the sixth inning, and the New York Mets held on for a 1-0 win Thursday.
The game ended with Washington manager Jim Riggleman, catcher Ivan Rodriguez and third-base coach Bo Porter hollering at the umpires, moments after a disputed call at first base.
When it was over, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo verbally confronted the umps in a tunnel underneath the stands. Major League Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said the commissioner’s office was looking into the postgame antics.
No dispute, though, that Gee (3-0) knows how to tame the Nats. In his major league debut last September, the 25-year-old righty held the Nationals without a hit until Willie Harris homered leading off the sixth.
“I saw it like in the fourth or fifth” that another no-hit bid was brewing, Gee said.
“That’s still early.”
Especially for a franchise that has never thrown a no-hitter in its 50-year history.
Washington, with the worst batting average in the majors, was shut out in both games of this series. The Nationals have been blanked seven times in 43 games this year.
The arguments started soon after Laynce Nix doubled with one out in the ninth inning. Jayson Werth followed with a hard one-hopper that third baseman Justin Turner snagged — but his throw appeared to pull first baseman Daniel Murphy off the bag. Plus, Werth seemed to beat the play.
First-base umpire Phil Cuzzi called Werth out.
“He was safe,” Hernandez said. “He beat him two times. He was safe because the guy was off the bag and he was safe because he beat the throw.”
Werth jumped up when Cuzzi made his call, and Riggleman came out to argue.
“I really didn’t get an explanation. He said he was out,” Riggleman said. “Obviously, I did most of the talking.”
Riggleman then took his beef down to plate umpire Manny Gonzalez, a minor league call-up.
“I wanted to see if maybe from his angle he could see it better, maybe the first baseman coming off the base. He’s got a good look at that. He refused,” Riggleman said.
Said Murphy: “Yeah, I thought I was on the bag.” Added Mets manager Terry Collins: “I thought he was out. Timing-wise, I thought he was out.”
When Adam LaRoche grounded out with Nix on third to end it, Riggleman, Rodriguez and Porter kept up the argument as the umpires walked past Washington’s dugout on the way to their locker room. Other Nationals also yelled out.
Cuzzi said he had already spoken to Joe Torre, now Major League Baseball’s vice president for baseball operations, and “he’s going to take it from there.” Cuzzi declined further comment.
“You guys have the replay,” Riggleman said to reporters.
Francisco Rodriguez closed for his 14th save in 15 chances, extending his scoreless streak to 18 innings.
Turner hit an RBI single in the fourth for the only run. That was enough for the Mets to win for the ninth time in 13 games as they head into interleague play Friday night at Yankee Stadium in the Subway Series.
“This is a good way to come in, back-to-back shutouts,” Collins said.
The Nationals threatened in the eighth when they put runners on first and second with one out. Pinch-hitter Matt Stairs lined out to right field on Gee’s last pitch, and reliever Tim Byrdak retired pinch-hitter Michael Morse on a grounder.
Hernandez (3-6) is one of baseball’s best-hitting pitchers and bounced a solid single up the middle on the first pitch he saw in the sixth.
“As pitchers, we know that’s going to be the best pitch we get,” Gee said.
Gee gave up two hits in 7 2-3 innings, struck out three and walked three.
Hernandez gave up seven hits and struck out seven in seven innings. Called up from Triple-A last month, Turner had a two-out single that gave him 12 RBIs in his last 10 games.
NOTES: Jose Reyes grounded into a double play for the first time this season. It came in his 185th at-bat, and no one had gone longer in the majors without a GIDP. … The Mets said all tickets from Wednesday night’s rain-soaked 3-0 win could be redeemed for a free ticket May 30 vs. Pittsburgh.