“This is a huge win for us, because we have a chance to get things going again,” Rodriguez said. “I’m not happy that I only went five innings and walked four guys, but the result is what we needed.”
Rodriguez (8-6) allowed two hits and four walks in helping Boston end its longest losing streak of the season. J.D. Martinez, Enrique Hernandez and Jarren Duran homered for the Red Sox.
“We haven’t been doing enough damage when we’re swinging at pitches in the zone,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We still weren’t great tonight — we left a lot of runners in scoring position — but we got the runs we needed to win a game.”
Boston pitchers struck out 18 batters, with Matt Barnes getting two as he pitched a perfect ninth for his 24th save in 28 chances.
Casey Mize (6-6) gave up four runs on seven hits and a walk in five innings. He struck out three and allowed all three Boston homers.
“I just don’t think he was executing pitches today,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “He gave up too many runs with two out.”
Both teams had runners on first and third with one out in the first, but Mize and Rodriguez escaped without allowing a run.
Martinez homered to lead off the second, and the game stayed 1-0 until the fifth inning. With two out, Hernandez hit a 3-2 pitch over the Red Sox bullpen for a two-run homer. Two pitches later, Duran made it 4-0 with his second career home run.
“That’s a really disappointing inning for me,” Mize said. “I’ve got two out and a chance to keep us within one run, and then I make two bad pitches and we’re in a big hole. I can’t do that.”
Robbie Grossman dropped Alex Verdugo’s drive to right-center in the sixth — the play was ruled a double — giving the Red Sox runners on second and third with one out. Derek Holland struck out Hunter Renfroe and pinch-hitter Bobby Dalbec to end the inning.
Jonathan Schoop made it 4-1 with a solo homer off Josh Taylor in the seventh. Grossman walked, and Cora brought Adam Ottavino in to retire Miguel Cabrera on a soft pop fly.
“Our bullpen was great tonight,” Cora said. “Eddie gave us a chance to win and they closed it out.”
The Red Sox activated Barnes from the COVID-19 injured list one day after placing him on the list. Barnes showed virus-like symptoms on Tuesday and was put into quarantine at the team hotel, but multiple COVID-19 tests came back negative.
“I had what felt like a head cold on Monday night into Tuesday, and I knew coming forward would be the responsible thing to do,” he said. “I wasn’t too worried, but I was still happy to hear the tests were negative.”
To make room for him, the Red Sox optioned INF Jonathan Araúz to Triple-A Worcester.
WINNING FOR REMY
After the game, Cora said the team had dedicated the win to Jerry Remy, who announced on Tuesday that he would be taking a leave of absence from NESN’s broadcast booth to battle lung cancer. He has battled lung cancer in the past.
Remy first joined the Red Sox organization as a player in 1978.
“Before the game, he texted me to go get them today,” Cora said. “I told him we would and that we would be fighting alongside him every day. We all know how much he means to this franchise and this fanbase, and we’ll all be grinding this out with him.”
ONE STEP CLOSER
Cabrera singled in the sixth inning, giving him 2,945 career hits. He needs 55 hits and two home runs in Detroit’s final 52 games to become the first major league player to reach 500 homers and 3,000 hits in the same season.
TOO MANY STRIKEOUTS
The game was the seventh where the Tigers have struck out at least 18 times in a nine-inning game. After only doing it three times in their first 118 seasons – twice when Roger Clemens and Max Scherzer struck out 20 batters – they have done it four times in the last three seasons.
“Obviously, it is hard to get anything going with that many swings and misses,” Hinch said. “Every time we threatened to put an inning together, we gave them outs without making them play defense.”
The teams finish their three-game series on Thursday afternoon, with Detroit’s Tarik Skubal (6-10, 4.53) scheduled to start against Martin Perez (7-7, 4.56).