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Scherzer stumbles in Tigers' 7-3 loss to Red Sox

Jul 31st, 2012 - Sports News

BOSTON (AP) — Detroit manager Jim Leyland had a theory why starter Max Scherzer faltered against Dustin Pedroia.

With Boston 's Carl Crawford on first base after walking to begin the sixth inning, Scherzer kept the speedster close during Pedroia's at-bat.

Following two pickoff attempts, Pedroia deposited 1-2 fastball into the seats above the Green Monster, snapping a tie game and sending the Red Sox to a 7-3 win Monday night.

Leyland later speculated that Scherzer was a bit too preoccupied with Crawford.

"To be honest with you — I don't know this for a fact — I think he was a little conscious of Crawford and maybe rushed it just a little bit and probably didn't get it exactly where he wanted to," Leyland said. "I'm a little suspicious of that."

Scherzer had a simpler response.

"I completely missed my spot," he said. "That's what's frustrating is when you don't execute pitches the way you want to and you get burned by it. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

"It was supposed to be down and away and it just flew up and missed up and in," he added. "He's a great high-ball hitter and that's what happens when you miss in their sweet spot."

Scherzer (10-6) had won four of his last five starts. On Monday, he found a rhythm in the middle innings, retiring 11 of 13 batters during one stretch.

But after the walk to Crawford, who also tripled and scored in the first, Pedroias blast put Boston in front for good.

Scherzer allowed five runs on seven hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out nine and walking two.

Will Middlebrooks added a two-run homer off reliever Phil Coke in the eighth, helping Boston win its third straight game.

"Really you can sum the game up in three pitches — the triple and the two home runs," Tigers catcher Alex Avila said. "Missed our spots pretty badly on those three pitches and they made us pay on those mistakes. Really, that was the game right there."

Clay Buchholz (9-3) pitched eight solid innings for Boston.

The Red Sox opened a 10-game homestand — their longest of the season — after taking two of three at Yankee Stadium over the weekend.

Austin Jackson began the game with a homer and Miguel Cabrera had an RBI single for the Tigers, who lost for the fourth time in five games.

Buchholz allowed two earned runs and five hits. He improved to 5-1 with a 2.43 ERA in his last eight starts.

Detroit had taken a 1-0 lead when Jackson hit Buchholz's second pitch of the game into the first row of seats above the left-field wall. Quintin Berry followed with a double off the wall, but the right-hander retired the next three batters, grabbing Cabrera's hard one-hop shot back to the mound for the first out before getting the next two easily.

Boston took a 2-1 edge in the bottom half. Jacoby Ellsbury drew a leadoff walk and scored on Crawford triple's off the left-field wall. Crawford scored on Pedroia's groundout.

The Tigers tied it at 2 in the third. Omar Infante tripled off the left-field wall and scored on Cabrera's single. But with the bases loaded, Delmon Young bounced into an inning-ending double play.

Buchholz then retired the next nine batters before Detroit scored an unearned run in the seventh.

Brennan Boesch opened the inning by striking out, but reached when catcher Kelly Shoppach had the ball get away from him and hit Boesch as he was running to first on the missed third strike. One out later, Avila had an RBI double into the right-center field gap, closing the score to 4-3.

In the seventh, Ellsbury's RBI single — the last batter Scherzer faced — came after Shoppach had his second career triple, sending a drive to the center-field wall that caromed away from Jackson and rolled toward left.

NOTES: Leyland managed his 3,278th game, moving him into 15th place all-time. ... With the non-waiver trading deadline approaching Tuesday, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine opened his pregame news conference by joking: "I've been assured I'm not going to be traded." ... Valentine also said DH David Ortiz, eligible to come off the 15-day DL after being sidelined with a strained right Achilles, was unable do some agility running over the weekend, but was "running in the pool" on Monday. "He's not far away (from returning), but I don't know if Wednesday's the magical day," Valentine said. ... Shoppach's other triple came at Kansas City on May 7. ... A roar and chats of "USA! USA!" were heard when the center-field board showed an updated Olympic medal count. ... The Red Sox took three of four from the Tigers at Fenway Park in late May.

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