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May 30, 2024 8:28 am

Evenly matched Red Sox, Tigers look for bounce-back wins

jack flaherty

The Boston Red Sox will start a six-game homestand and a four-game weekend series when they meet the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night.

Both teams are coming off losses on Wednesday, with the Red Sox falling 6-1 to the Baltimore Orioles while the Tigers dropped a 10-2 decision to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Dominic Smith’s second-inning RBI gave Boston a lead on Wednesday, but it was short-lived. A Gunnar Henderson grand slam in the bottom of the inning marked the big blow against Kutter Crawford.

“That inning just got away from us, and they did what they do,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “(The Orioles are) a complete team. They do a lot of good stuff, and they keep getting better.”

Connor Wong scored the only run for the Red Sox. He was 2-for-4 on the day.

Next up is a Detroit club that has a nearly identical record to Boston; both teams have 28 losses. The Red Sox enter Thursday at .500, with the Tigers having played one less game and are 27-28.

Boston right-hander Nick Pivetta (2-3, 4.20 ERA) will look to bounce back from a 6-3 loss Saturday to the Milwaukee Brewers. He allowed seven hits and five runs and three strikeouts — including the 1,000th of his MLB career — across 3 1/3 innings.

Pivetta has pitched at least five innings and allowed two or fewer runs in four of his six starts this season but was disappointed by this most recent outing, which included three walks.

“I’m only going to pitch well if I don’t walk guys. I got behind guys and walked guys,” he said. “I paid for it, regardless of the contact, getting into those counts, and walking guys led to damage. I wasn’t able to get the job done.”

Pivetta has two career appearances (one start) against the Tigers and is 1-0 with a 3.12 ERA and 13 strikeouts over 8 1/3 innings.

The Tigers had a busy Wednesday, splitting a doubleheader against Pittsburgh. In Game 1, Detroit ace Tarik Skubal threw seven shutout innings, allowing just three singles in an 8-0 win.

However, a four-game winning streak was snapped in the nightcap, a 10-2 loss.

Matt Vierling was a bright spot against Pirates rookie sensation Paul Skenes in Game 2, hitting his fourth homer in a three-game span. He has seven homers this season after hitting just 10 in 2023.

“I’m seeing a lot of awesomeness,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said of Vierling. “Is that a word? He’s taken a lot of work that he’s been doing behind the scenes into the game. The pull-side in the air, we’ve talked about it enough, now we’re watching it. He’s been incredible.”

Detroit’s Jack Flaherty (1-4, 3.84) will aim to continue a current run of five straight starts of at least six innings, though three of his losses have come in that stretch. The right-hander struck out nine in back-to-back outings. He took the loss in his most recent start May 23 against the Toronto Blue Jays, giving up three runs over 6 1/3 innings in a 9-1 loss.

Flaherty will make his second career start against Boston. The first came in a no-decision on Sept. 9, 2023, when he pitched 3 1/3 innings and allowed four earned runs.

–Field Level Media

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