BOSTON Boston manager Bobby Valentine has been around long enough to understand how fiery second baseman Dustin Pedroia takes each at-bat.
“Dustin is the most determined, talented player I’ve ever seen,” Valentine, in his first year with the Red Sox, said after Pedroia’s two-run homer broke a tie and helped Boston to a 7-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.
“He was upset after he left the runner on second (in his previous at-bat),” Valentine said. “I knew he was going to do something.”
Pedroia, the 2008 AL MVP, also finished with three RBIs to support Clay Buchholz’s eight solid innings that carried Boston to its third straight win.
With the game tied 2-all in the sixth, Pedroia homered into the first row of seats above the Green Monster after Crawford drew a leadoff walk.
Buchholz (9-3) allowed two earned runs and five hits. He improved to 5-1 with a 2.43 ERA in his last eight starts.
“Everything feels in synch right now,” he said of his recent success.
He not only feel like he’s on a roll, but feels the team may be getting on a run, too.
“It’s pitching and hitting at the same time,” he said. “You’ve got to pitch and hit well to go on a streak like we need to go on.”
The Red Sox opened a 10-game homestand – their longest of the season – after taking the final two of three-game set at Yankee Stadium over the weekend.
Will Middlebrooks had a two-run homer and Carl Crawford added an RBI triple for Boston.
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.
Max Scherzer (10-6) gave up five runs in 6 1-3 innings, striking out nine.
“Obviously the pitch to Pedroia, I completely missed my spot,” Scherzer said. “That’s what’s frustrating – 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.”
Tigers manager Jim Leyland felt Scherzer may have been too concerned with the speedy Crawford on first.
“I think in that particular situation, 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,” he said.
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, Alex 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.
Scherzer was sharp after Boston’s two-run first, holding the Red Sox to a pair of singles until Pedroia’s homer.
Middlebrooks homered off reliever Phil Coke in the eighth.