Kevin Youkilis blasted his 4th homerun in as many days to help the Boston Red Sox capture a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers last night at Comerica Park. Youkilis came into the Detroit series with 3 homers on the season and leaves Motown with 7 round trippers, and the Tigers pitching and coaching staff couldn’t be happier to see him leave town.
“Our entire staff did a poor, poor job the entire series against Youkilis,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. “Not with the thought process but executing pitches. We just gave him cookie after cookie and he just beat our brains out.”
Justin Verlander was the most recent culprit to surrender a Youkilis blast, giving up the two-run bomb in the 5th inning, putting the Sox ahead 5-1, a lead that Josh Beckett would make hold up for his 4th win of the season. Verlander falls to 1-6 on the year and his ERA rises up to 6.43.
For the second consecutive start Beckett looked very comfortable on the mound and the outcome relayed this feeling as he was able to mix in all of his pitches throughout the night with ease.
“I made pitches when I needed them, and that’s what it boils down to,” Beckett said. “If I hadn’t been able to make a couple key pitches, I would have given up a lot more runs. I had all four pitches working when I needed them, and that’s big.”
Over 7 innings of work, Beckett allowed 1 run on 6 hits while striking out 8 Tigers. Along the way he recorded his 1,000th career strike out en route to the victory. Craig Hansen relieved Beckett and pitched a perfect 8th while Manny Delcarmen recorded all three outs in the 9th.
The Sox recorded 13 hits on the night led by a 3 hit performance by Coco Crisp while Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and Mike Lowell all chipped in with 2 hits respectively. Ortiz now has an 8 game hitting streak and has raised his average 55 percentage points over that time.
Boston took three of the four games in Detroit and squandered the possible sweep with an unusual blown save on Wednesday night by Jonathan Papelbon. The team now travels to Minnesota for a four game set against the Twins who are currently in first place on the AL Central Division with a record of 17-16. Over the past ten games both clubs are playing extremely good baseball. The Sox are 8-2 over that period while the Twins are 7-3.
Tonight’s pitching match up features Jon Lester of the Sox going against Boof Bonser of the Twins. Over his last two starts, Lester has looked very impressive hurling 14 innings while only allowed 1 earned run and striking out 11 opponents. Lester is 2-2 on the season with a 3.94 ERA and has never started in Minnesota.
Bonser is coming off a no decision against the Tigers on May 4th where he allowed 6 runs on 8 hits over 6 innings. He is 2-4 on the season with a 4.29 ERA. He has never faced many of the Red Sox starters, including Youkilis who has never homered at the Metrodome but still looks to stay hot in Minnesota.
The scheduled first pitch tonight is at 8:10pm EST.
– Curt Schilling threw long toss before Thursdays game, completing 25 tosses of about 60 feet in length. There is still no estimated return for Schilling who began the season on the 60-Day DL.
– On Tuesday night, Tim Wakefield and Mike Timlin became the first pair of 40 + year old pitchers to combine for a shutout since 1990 in the Sox 5-0 win over Detroit.
– Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, Craig Hanson and Clay Buchholtz are all currently on the Red Sox official 40-man roster. This is the first time in the 43-year history of the amateur draft that an organization has moved its top 4 picks from the same draft (2005) onto the roster at the same time within 3 years of having been drafted.