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Closing Time: Red Sox fail to sweep Tigers, see end three-game winning streak

05.31.12 at 10:33 pm ET
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Red Sox starter Josh Beckett only struck out one batter in his fifth loss of the season. (AP)

There would be no sweep at Fenway Park, as the Red Sox fell in the fourth game of their series with the Tigers by a 7-3 count on Thursday night.

Josh Beckett allowed four runs on 10 hits in seven innings pitched, falling to 4-5 on the season. Beckett allowed three runs on four hits in the third inning, stopping any Red Sox momentum in its tracks after Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Scott Podsednik put Boston ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the second.

Another RBI for Saltalamacchia tied the game at 3-3, but then an RBI single for Miguel Cabrera in the fifth and a Delmon Young homer in the eighth moved Detroit out in front for a lead the Tigers would not lose for the rest of the game.

Quintin Berry was a tough Tiger for the Red Sox to handle, as he finished the game with three hits, two runs, two stolen bases and an RBI. The loss left the Sox one game over .500 and three games out in the American League East.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

• While Thursday night was not Beckett’s worst game of the season, he struggled to strike hitters out, only recording one strikeout through his seven innings pitched. That matched a career low in punchouts, previously achieved nine times in his career, most recently on April 13 against the Rays.

Beckett allowed a lot of weak contact en route to a yield of 10 hits, eight of which were singles. In the third inning, when he allowed three runs, Beckett allowed four hits as well as a sacrifice fly. But balls kept finding holes, a reminder of the fact that when a pitcher does not strike out opponents, his outcomes are subject to luck. Beckett has shown an ability to succeed with such a formula, but on Thursday night the lack of swing-and-miss capability hurt him in the end.

Adrian Gonzalez ended his 10-game hitting streak in the game, failing to come through in a key at-bat in the bottom of the seventh in the process. The Red Sox were down 4-3 with Nick Punto on second base, when Gonzalez lifted an easy fly ball to left field for the third out of the inning.

Franklin Morales struggled in his brief appearance, allowing a home run to Young and two walks among the five hitters he faced. Morales allowed a key insurance run for the Tigers, as the Red Sox fell to a two-run deficit with one swing of the bat.

The left-handed reliever has allowed at least one run in five of his 20 appearances this season. Though he has recorded eight holds, Morales has allowed at least one hit in eight of his last 10 relief appearances and has a 4.41 ERA this year, and increasingly, he has been reduced to the role of someone whom manager Bobby Valentine will use only when his team is behind.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

• Saltalamacchia finished his red-hot month of May strong, hitting a solo shot in the second inning for his 10th homer of the year. The switch-hitting catcher pulled the ball from the left side of the plate to deliver a bomb that looked very similar to his walk-off blast against the Rays on Saturday.

The home run was his sixth of the month, which tops his previous monthly high of five homers that he set in August 2007.

Saltalamacchia added another RBI in the game with a two-out single up the middle in the third. Since April 21, he is hitting .333/.362/.596/.958.

• After Beckett got into a one-out jam in the second, with runners on second and third, Ryan Sweeney bailed him out by doubling up Young on his attempt to score from third on a flyout by Jhonny Peralta. Sweeney caught the high fly ball along the foul line in right field, setting himself up with a perfect charge along the wall, and then delivered a throw that was just in time for Saltalamacchia to tag out Young.

The assist was Sweeney’s second of the year, and his first from right field this season. Sweeney’s career high in outfield assists on a season is 11, a mark he set in 2009 with the Athletics.

Scott Podsednik continued his hot hitting since being signed by the Red Sox with an RBI double in the second. The 36-year-old outfielder drilled a pitch deep to center field to score Sweeney all the way from first base. Podsednik stole third base after the double, but Daniel Nava was unable to drive him home.

Podsednik certainly has earned his playing time with the Sox, hitting .444 with a solo homer and two stolen bases.

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