DETROIT — Right away, Jon Lester could tell something was off.
“I didn’t feel good from the first toss in the bullpen to the last pitch I threw in the game. Against that offense, that means a long night,” Lester said. “I flat-out wasted this game.”
Lester couldn’t make it through the fifth inning, and the Boston Red Sox lost 8-6 to the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night for their fifth straight defeat. Miguel Cabrera had three hits, and Detroit’s Eugenio Suarez homered for his first hit in the majors.
Detroit has won all five games against the Red Sox this season after losing to them in the AL championship series last year.
Suarez’s solo shot in the fourth came in the shortstop’s third at-bat since he was called up from the minors earlier in the week to make his big league debut.
Nick Castellanos also homered for the Tigers, and Dustin Pedroia went deep for Boston. Detroit closer Joe Nathan allowed two runs in the ninth in a non-save situation, but retired Stephen Drew on a flyout with two on to end it.
Max Scherzer (7-2) allowed four runs and 11 hits in 6 2-3 innings for the Tigers. He struck out nine and walked one.
Lester (6-7) allowed five runs and 12 hits in 4 1-3 innings.
“He just wasn’t as sharp and as powerful as we usually see from him,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “Maybe it was just the warm weather, because the last time those two guys hooked up, it was 1-0. Tonight, both teams were having great at-bats.”
Castellanos and Austin Jackson had three hits for the AL Central-leading Tigers, who had lost five straight before taking the first two games of this series. They scored two runs in the first off Lester on an RBI double by Victor Martinez and a run-scoring single by Torii Hunter. Rajai Davis added an RBI single in the second.
Castellanos hit a solo homer in the third. After Pedroia’s solo homer in the fourth, Suarez led off the bottom half with a drive that carried past the fence in left for a 5-1 Detroit lead.
Suarez became the first Detroit player to homer for his first career hit since Wilkin Ramirez on May 20, 2009. Ramirez hasn’t homered in the majors since.
“I hit that ball hard,” Suarez said. “I feel very happy for that hit, for that home run. I’ll never forget that first hit, my first start in the big leagues.”
Lester entered the day with 95 strikeouts, the third-most in the American League, but he didn’t fan a single Detroit hitter.
The Red Sox chipped away against Scherzer. Jackie Bradley Jr. hit an RBI single in the fifth, and Stephen Drew added one in the sixth.
In the bottom half, Ian Kinsler hit an RBI triple and scored on a single by Cabrera.
David Ortiz chased Scherzer with an RBI double in the seventh to make it 7-4, but Al Alburquerque came on and got Grady Sizemore to ground out with runners on second and third for the third out.
Boston is now in the middle of another extended streak. The Red Sox lost 10 in a row, then won seven straight before their current skid.
Boston’s Xander Bogaerts stole third in bizarre fashion in the ninth when Castellanos left the base unattended to shift from his normal spot at third to the right side of the infield with Ortiz batting. Bogaerts took off for third, and Nathan ran over from the mound and tried to tag him but couldn’t get to third in time.