DETROIT — Somebody has to win when two faltering teams meet, and Friday night it was the Detroit Tigers.
Solo home runs by second baseman Ian Kinsler, right fielder Torii Hunter and designated hitter Victor Martinez sparked Detroit to a 6-2 victory over Boston that ended the Tigers’ season-worst five-game losing streak and extended the Red Sox losing streak to four.
Lefty Drew Smyly (3-4) protected the lead Detroit handed him in the fourth inning and wound up going six. He allowed two runs, one unearned, on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts.
“This game will eat you alive if you let it,” said Smyly, who had lost his previous two starts. “This feels good for the team, because we’ve been in a rut lately. And it feels good for me, because I’ve been in a rut lately.”
Southpaw Ian Krol plus right-handers Joba Chamberlain and Joe Nathan each pitched an inning to finish up the game. Nathan allowed a hit but showed a better slider after getting drubbed for 10 runs in his previous six outings covering 4 1/3 innings. He had a blown save and two losses in six games.
“This is just one game,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “But it certainly makes it easier to leave the ball park with a win.”
Manager John Farrell’s lineup was minus some key players due to with injuries. First baseman Mike Napoli should be back Sunday but right fielder Shane Victorino is a ways away from getting over his bad right hamstring and shortstop J.D. Drew doesn’t have his timing down yet. The rotation is minus right-hander Clay Buchholz and left-hander Felix Doubront.
Rubby De La Rosa (1-1) gave Detroit single runs in the third and fourth plus the solo home runs to Kinsler (sixth) and Hunter (ninth) in the fifth.
“Any time he elevated the ball,” Farrell said, “well, they’ve got some good professional hitters. And a couple of times he got two quick outs and then ran into problems.
“Offensively, we’re scuffling to put anything together. We’ve had a rough go of it with runners on base. We’ve got to continue to grind it out.
“This isn’t to single anyone out. This is to talk about us as a team.”
Smyly gave up a leadoff single to first baseman Brock Holt and an RBI double to third baseman Xander Bogaerts but Boston couldn’t move him any farther.
“That was an opportunity for us to put a crooked number up and we couldn’t do it,” Farrell said.
The Red Sox didn’t score again until the sixth. A one-out throwing error by shortstop Andrew Romine let second baseman Dustin Pedroia get on and he came around on a single by designated hitter David Ortiz plus a sacrifice fly by left fielder Jonny Gomes.
Third baseman Nick Castellanos, who had his second three-hit game in a row for Detroit, doubled to open the third and scored on a single up the middle by Romine. Hunter singled to start the third, went to third on a single to left-center by first baseman Miguel Cabrera and scored on a sacrifice fly to right center by Martinez, a ball that was hit so far that Cabrera was easily doubled off first when center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. made an excellent running catch.
The home runs by Kinsler and Hunter in the fifth made it 4-2 and the Tigers added two more in the eighth off lefty Chris Capuano. Martinez hit his 14th home run, catcher Bryan Holaday tripled and center fielder Austin Jackson followed with his seventh sacrifice fly of the season.
Tigers’ catcher Alex Avila was smacked in the head on a backswing by Ortiz in the eighth and had to leave the game.
“Kevin (head trainer Rand) asked him a few questions and he didn’t get one right,” Ausmus said. “That’s not good. They say he should be all right by tomorrow and could play, but that’s not going to happen.”