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Closing Time: Red Sox fall to Tigers, sink deeper as losing streak reaches 4

06.06.14 at 9:58 pm ET
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Lightning didn’t strike twice for Rubby De La Rosa.

After shutting out a mediocre Rays lineup through seven innings in his first major league start of 2014, De La Rosa was not able to duplicate that success against the AL Central-leading Tigers. He allowed four runs on nine hits in his 5 2/3 innings of work as the Red Sox were unable to reclaim the lead, falling 6-2 and dropping their fourth game in a row.

The first three innings were a relative breeze for De La Rosa. Perfect through his first two innings, he allowed a run on a double and a single in the third inning, but neither of the balls were particularly hard hit, with Nick Castellanos poking one past Brock Holt down the first base line and Andrew Romine driving him in with a ground ball single up the middle. De La Rosa used just 29 pitches through his first three innings, using predominantly fastballs and mixing in the occasional changeup.

But unlike the Rays six days before, the Tigers were able to adjust to De La Rosa the second time through the lineup, and the results were not pretty for the Red Sox right-hander.

Four singles and a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning led to another run for the Tigers, and they began hitting the ball hard after De La Rosa was able to keep pretty much all contact on the ground through the first three innings. After getting two quick outs in the fifth, De La Rosa gave up the deciding runs, coming in the form of back-to-back home runs from Ian Kinsler and Torii Hunter.

De La Rosa responded by ramping up the velocity on his fastball, touching 98 and 99 in the at-bat against Cabrera. Throwing harder wasn’€™t the answer, though. De La Rosa was overthrowing and briefly got a little wild, issuing his first walk in the majors this season and uncorking a wild pitch to Martinez a batter later. He was able to escape without any further damage, however.

The Tigers were geared up for the fastball, with six of the nine hits coming off of De La Rosa’s heater, regardless of how fast it was. Two hits (including Kinsler’s home run) came off the change and the other off the rarely-used slider.

De La Rosa’s changeup was pretty effective aside from the mistake on Kinsler’s home run. Of the 22 changeups he threw, 18 were strikes while six of those were swinging strikes. He used his slider sparingly (10 of his 96 pitches), and had trouble locating it, with only four of those finding the strike zone.

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 27-33 and seem to be in the midst of another slump. They’ve been outscored 19-11 during the four-game skid.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– That one big hit is eluding the Red Sox once again. Though they managed [five] hits against Tigers pitching, the Sox went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and are 2-for-their-last-29 in such situations.

Jackie Bradley Jr. had an ugly night at the plate, striking out three times. He’s batting just .148 over his last eight games, and has struck out in 30 percent of his plate appearances this season. It was his fourth three-strikeout game of the year.

Chris Capuano was unable to record an out in the bottom of the eighth, giving up a home run to Martinez followed by a triple off the bat of catcher Bryan Holaday, who would also come around to score. It’s the second outing in a row in which Capuano has been unable to secure an out; he’s given up three runs on five hits in his last two appearances.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

– Bradley continues to impress in the outfield, and potentially saved a couple runs in the fourth inning, covering a ton of ground and venturing into right center field on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Martinez. Cabrera, who was on first base, must have been very confident that the ball would fall in; he was all the way past second when the ball came back into the infield and was doubled off first. Rather than have runners potentially on first and third with no one out, Bradley’s defense instead gave De La Rosa a bases-empty, two-out situation. De La Rosa then allowed two consecutive singles, but would not allow any more runs in the inning.

– Though he was effective, Tigers starter Drew Smyly lasted just six innings, as the Red Sox were able to work counts and forced Smyly to throw 101 pitches on the evening. Jonny Gomes played a large role in that thanks to his 12-pitch at-bat in the top of the sixth that resulted in a sac fly.

– Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts have both been very productive at the top of the Red Sox lineup lately, and they delivered a one-two punch to the Tigers right out of the gate on Friday. Holt singled and came around to score on Bogaerts’ double to left field. Though Bogaerts wouldn’€™t reach base the rest of the night, his power surge continued, with the 21-year-old collecting 13 extra-base hits in his last 19 games.

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