BOSTON — On a night when neither Boston’s Chris Sale nor Detroit’s Justin Verlander had dominant stuff, the Red Sox and Tigers spent most of the night trading leads after timely hits.
Mitch Moreland’s hit proved to be the timeliest.
Moreland smacked a go-ahead two-run double in Boston’s three-run seventh and the Red Sox broke the game open with a five-run eighth in an 11-3 rout of Detroit Saturday night at Fenway Park.
“All night long we did a very good job with long at-bats, staying within the strike zone, really being relentless at the plate which is what we try to instill, try to take pride in,” Boston manager John Farrell said.
Moreland and Andrew Benintendi each had three RBIs for the Red Sox. Sale (8-2) allowed three runs, nine hits and no walks while striking out seven in seven innings.
It was Sale’s first victory in six head-to-head matchups with Verlander on the mound for the Tigers.
“That’s a tough team over there. I’ve seen quite a bit of them,” Sale said, referring to his days facing the Tigers in the American League Central with the Chicago White Sox. “They’ve given me some fits over the years. … Teams like that, it’s nice to kind of get over the hump.”
Josh Rutledge added two RBIs and Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts and Sandy Leon each had one for Boston (34-27), which has won the first two games of its three-game series with Detroit (29-32).
Nicholas Castellanos, Miguel Cabrera and Mikie Mahtook each drove in a run for the Tigers, who have dropped three in a row and four of their last five.
Verlander, who left Sunday’s start against the Chicago White Sox with a groin injury, gave up three runs, five hits and four walks with three strikeouts in a five-inning no-decision.
“I was cognizant of [my groin] but [I] made it through about as good as I could have hoped for,” Verlander said. “I was just … aware of it and not trying to overdo anything.”
Warwick Saupold (1-1) took the loss after giving up three runs in an inning of relief.
Rutledge made it 6-3 after Moreland’s decisive hit in the seventh with an RBI single.
Boston put the game out of reach with a five-run eighth.
Mahtook’s single to shallow center field with one out in the sixth inning tied the score 3-3.
Pedroia opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly to right field after Rutledge and Leon singled and Mookie Betts walked to load the bases with nobody out in the Red Sox’s third.
After Verlander struck out Bogaerts for the second out, Moreland drove an RBI single to right to make it 2-0.
Castellanos ripped an RBI double just past the reach of the lunging Rutledge at third base to put the Tigers on the board with one out in the fifth. Cabrera tied it on a soft 4-3 groundout in the next at-bat.
Verlander loaded the bases again in the fifth and Benintendi gave Boston a 3-2 lead with a sacrifice fly to center for the inning’s second out. The former American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner needed 108 pitches to get through five innings.