BOSTON — The Detroit Tigers continued a perfect road trip as Max Scherzer and four relievers combined on a three-hitter to beat the Boston Red Sox, 1-0, on Friday night.
After sweeping three games in Baltimore, the Tigers (25-12) continued a nine-game trip by winning the first game of the season series against the team that defeated them in last year’s American League Championship Series.
Scherzer, winning his sixth straight start to go to 6-1, pitched six-plus innings in winning a matchup against left-hander Jon Lester (4-5).
Right-hander Joe Nathan worked a perfect ninth inning for his 11th save, his ninth in his last nine chances.
The game was delayed for 47 minutes with the Tigers batting in the fourth inning and both starters, who are looking at big-money contracts as potential free agents next winter, returned.
The Red Sox, losing their second straight to fall to 20-21, are 5-10 in one-run games and just 10-12 at home. They banged into three double plays in their latest chapter of not being able to get the big hit when needed.
Right fielder Torii Hunter drove in the game’s only run, in the first inning.
Scherzer did not allow a hit until the fourth inning, after the rain delay, and got double-play grounders to pitch out of the second and sixth. The Red Sox had first and second and nobody out in the sixth when right fielder Grady Sizemore hit the ball hard but into a double play.
When left fielder Mike Carp popped a single down the left field line to start the home seventh, Scherzer was done.
Right-hander Evan Reed relieved and balked Carp to second before hitting shortstop Xander Bogaerts with a pitch. Reed then struck out center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. When lefty swinging A.J. Pierzynski was announced as a pinch hitter, Detroit manager Brad Ausmus went for left-hander Ian Krol. Pierzynski grounded into a double play and that threat was also gone.
Lester gave up four hits and a run and struck out seven in his five innings, but the delay and his high pitch count (94) ended his night.
Lester threw 27 pitches in the first inning but escaped with just one run. With one out, second baseman Ian Kinsler hit a liner that Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks could not handle and was ruled a single. Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera walked and, with two out after a strikeout, Hunter singled home the run.
Lester then lost the plate, walking center fielder Austin Jackson on four pitches and then going 3-0 on catcher Alex Avila. But Lester came back to strike Avila out to end the inning.Notes: RHP Luke Putkonen, who has been out with a right elbow problem, was recalled by the Tigers from his rehab assignment and placed back on the disabled list. He will see Tommy John specialist Dr. James Andrews next week. ... Detroit RHP Rick Porcello, who left his last start with left side tightness, goes for his sixth straight win and his seventh of the season when he faces five-game winner John Lackey tonight. Porcello is 1-3 with a 10.42 ERA in five career starts against the Red Sox — and 1-1 with a 10.03 ERA in three Fenway Park outings. ... Red Sox RF Shane Victorino missed his second straight game with a knee problem and is day to day. ... The Red Sox are the only team in the American League that has used only five starting pitchers this season.
Blue Jays 2, Rangers 0: Melky Cabrera doubled in two runs in the eighth inning and Drew Hutchison outdueled Yu Darvish as visiting Toronto blanked Texas, 2-0, in the opener of a three-game series Friday.
Hutchison (2-3) threw his first career complete game and allowed three hits with one walk and six strikeouts for his first victory since his season debut on April 1. The right-hander threw 105 pitches and allowed just one hit after the third for Toronto, which won for the fourth time in its last five games.
Darvish (3-2), who flirted with a perfect game in his last start against the Boston Red Sox, held Toronto without a hit until Adam Lind singled to begin the fifth. The Blue Jays broke through in the eighth when Erik Kratz and Anthony Gose reached on back-to-back bunt singles and both scored on Cabrera’s one-out double past first baseman Mitch Moreland.
Orioles 4, Royals 0: Chris Tillman pitched his first career shutout and Nelson Cruz knocked in a pair of runs as visiting Baltimore edged Kansas City for the second straight night.
Tillman (4-2) won for the first time in four starts, allowing five hits and one walk while striking out three in 117 pitches. Chris Davis recorded a solo homer and a single while Steve Clevenger knocked in a run for Baltimore, which improved to 9-3 in its last 12 road games.
Norichika Aoki had a double for the Royals, who were shut out for the third time this season.
after losing 2-1 to the Orioles on Thursday. Kansas City’s Jeremy Guthrie (2-3) yielded four runs on eight hits over eight innings and has not earned a victory in his last seven starts.