Ortiz has pinch-hit homer in ninth for as Sox split

Posted May 29, 2011, at 6:31 p.m.
Last modified May 29, 2011, at 11:05 p.m.

DETROIT — Justin Verlander took a shutout into the eighth inning as the Detroit Tigers beat the Boston Red Sox 3-0 to get a split of Sunday’s day-night doubleheader.

Verlander (5-3) allowed four hits and walked two in 7 2-3 innings, throwing a career-high 132 pitches. The pitch count matched the highest by a Tigers pitcher since Felipe Lira threw 135 on Aug. 11, 1996.

Josh Beckett (4-2) took his first loss since April 5 — his first start of the season. Beckett gave up two runs on five hits and a season-high five walks in six innings.

David Ortiz had a pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning off Jose Valverde to give the Boston Red Sox a 4-3 victory over the Tigers in the opener.

In the first  game, Ortiz doesn’t do a lot of pinch-hitting, so it was rare for him to hit a home run in that role.

So rare, in fact, that the last time was his first home run with the Red Sox.

Eight years later, Ortiz did it again, homering in the ninth inning off Jose Valverde to give Boston a 4-3 victory.

“I don’t like pinch-hitting too much, but I did just what I do as a DH,” he said. “I went to the cages, took some swings and got loose.”

Ortiz, hitting for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, worked a full count against the Tigers’ closer, then hit a line drive over the scoreboard in right-center.

“Valverde is so tough on righthanded hitters, it seemed like a easy decision with David sitting there,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He worked the count and got a great swing.”

Ortiz had only faced Valverde one other time. On July 30 last year, he hit a ninth-inning grand slam.

“I was waiting for one pitch, and he gave it to me,” Ortiz said.

Boston has won 13 of 16, including five of their last six.

Matt Albers (1-2) picked up the win with two shutout innings of relief, while Valverde (2-2) took the loss. Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth for his 10th save.

“I was able to throw my sinker and slider on both sides of the plate and get guys swinging,” Albers said. “That let me get ahead in the count and make them hit the ball on the ground.”

Boston’s Clay Buchholz and Detroit rookie Andy Oliver each pitched six innings and allowed three runs.

Oliver struggled badly in the first inning of his season debut, allowing a double, a walk, a hit batter and four stolen bases, but somehow escaped down just 1-0 on Adrian Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly. Tigers catcher Victor Martinez didn’t even get off a throw on any of the stolen bases, which included a double steal by Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.

“My slide step was a little slow in the first inning,” Oliver said. “From the second inning on, I relaxed and got focused on keeping guys off the bases.”

The Red Sox got solo homers from Mike Cameron and Pedroia in the next two innings, but Boston’s offense stalled until Ortiz’s homer in the ninth.

“I thought he did very well to hold that team to three runs,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Oliver. “You call up someone from the minors and they hold the Boston Red Sox to three runs in six inngs, you think they just did a good job.”

Andy Dirks started Detroit’s rally with a homer in the fourth, and Brennan Boesch’s fourth home run pulled the Tigers to 3-2 in the sixth.

Miguel Cabrera followed with a double, took third on Martinez’s groundout and scored on Jhonny Peralta’s single.

NOTES: Before the game, the Red Sox placed reliever Franklin Morales on the 15-day disabled list and recalled righthanded reliever Michael Bowden. … The second game of the doubleheader was not originally scheduled to be televised, because of ESPN’s exclusive Sunday-night contract, but a waiver was reached Sunday afternoon that allowed the game to be shown in both Boston and Detroit. … Leyland had said he hoped moving slumping Ryan Raburn to second base would give him a “new season.” Raburn went 0-4 with three strikeouts, dropping his season batting average to .195, and was out of the lineup for the nightcap.

 

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