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BOSTON (CBS) – The Red Sox start the 2012 season Thursday afternoon in Detroit.
Stick with CBSBostonsports.com as we live blog the game, with updates from Detroit from WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche.
Final, 3-2 Tigers
The Red Sox lose on a walk-off single from Austin Jackson.
It wasn’t a great debut for Aceves as a closer, as he hit the No. 9 hitter, Ramon Santiago, and allowed a sharply hit single past a diving Nick Punto at third base to drive home the winning run.
Melancon gets the loss, and the Red Sox are 0-1 to start the new season.
Bottom 9th, 2-2
With a bit of a dicey situation developing, Bobby V is now going to his closer.
Mark Melancon only retired one of the three batters he faced, giving up shallow singles to Peralta and Avila.
Alfredo Aceves, the closer for the meantime, now enters for his first action of the year.
Top 9th, 2-2
David Ortiz scored Pedroia on a sacrifice fly, before Kevin Youkilis went down swinging.
With two outs, McDonald stole second base, putting the Red Sox’ last out on the shoulders of Ryan Sweeney. The new right fielder delivered in a big way, crushing a triple to right field to tie the game.
Cody Ross tried to keep the inning going but lined out to short.
This one heads to the bottom of the ninth, tied at two.
Top 9th, 2-0 Tigers
We’ve got an interesting ninth inning here, folks. Dustin Pedroia worked a lengthy at-bat before doubling to right-center field off Jose Valverde. Adrian Gonzalez followed that up with a single smoked into right.
Darnell McDonald is in to run for Gonzalez as the potential tying run. Ortiz is at the plate with runners at the corners and nobody out.
Bottom 8th, 2-0 Tigers
Franklin Morales threw a great pitch to Prince Fielder, but sometimes that’s not enough when you’re facing a great hitter. Fielder was able to lift the low pitch deep enough into center field to score Jackson from first on the sacrifice fly. Ellsbury’s throw caught the lip of the grass on the front edge of the mound, thereby eliminating the small chance the ball had of beating Jackson to the plate.
Delmon Young ended the inning with a fly ball to right. Jose Valverde is now on for the Tigers, three outs away from his first save of the season.
The Red Sox have hope, though, with Pedroia, Gonzalez and Ortiz set to bat in the ninth.
Bottom 8th, 1-0 Tigers
The Vicente Padilla era in Boston begins on not-so-spectacular terms, as he allows a deep fly ball from Austin Jackson that turns into a leadoff triple. Padilla was then able to get Boesch to ground out to short, with the runner staying put at third, before intentionally walking Miguel Cabrera.
Franklin Morales now enters for Padilla with one out in the eighth and runners on the corners.
From Dan Roche in Detroit:
I really feel for Jon Lester in that seventh inning. He gave up the two-out double to Peralta and then had Avila in a 1-2 count. He threw him a fastball that was close, but high. Then on 2-2, he threw a close pitch. Home plate umpire Dale Scott called it a ball. Next pitch, RBI double and 1-0 Detroit. I’m thinking … scoreless duel, you have to give that close pitch to the pitcher. Now I know Lester complains to umps, but he deserved that one.
Verlander tosses a 1-2-3 eighth inning after throwing 105 pitches and leaves to chants of M-V-P.
Top 8th, 1-0 Tigers
Ho-hum, just another 1-2-3 inning for Verlander, who officially picked up right where he left off last season.
The righty is the big story of the day, as he got Saltalamacchia to fly out on the first pitch of the inning, induced a weak liner to short from Aviles and got Ellsbury to ground out to short to end the frame.
It was the fifth 1-2-3 inning of the afternoon for Verlander, as he’s likely finished with seven strikeouts and having allowed just two hits and one walk in his seven innings of work.
Bottom 7th, 1-0 Tigers
The guy who was asked earlier to sacrifice bunt becomes the guy who drives in the first run of the afternoon. That’s baseball for you.
Alex Avila is the guy in this instance, as his two-out, two-strike double down the left field line drove in Peralta, who had also doubled down the left field line with two outs.
Assuming Lester’s now done for the day at 107 pitches, he’ll finish with four strikeouts, three walks, six hits and one run in seven innings.
It’s the seventh inning stretch, but the fans in Detroit have yet to see a run scored either way.
Verlander caught Youkilis looking at a perfect curveball for strike three to start the inning, and he did the same to Sweeney in the next at-bat. The called strike three was an inch or two off the plate, but when you’re throwing like Verlander is today, you’re going to get some calls. They were the sixth and seventh strikeouts of the afternoon for Verlander.
The inning ended with a Cody Ross flyout to left.
It’s starting to look like one run will be enough to win this one, and there’s not a lot of time to get it done.
The double play is Jon Lester’s best friend today.
The lefty got Prince Fielder to ground into a 6-3 double play to end the inning, the third twin killing of the day turned by the Red Sox in their first six innings of the season. The double play came after another walk for Cabrera.
At 87 pitches through six, it looks like Lester will have at least one more inning in him.
Through six innings, there’s been just one extra-base hit, a double from David Ortiz which came back in the second inning.
Like Lester in the inning before him, Verlander found himself in a bit of a jam, though not entirely due to his own doing.
Miguel Cabrera, who took a bad hop to the face just a few weeks ago in a spring training game, was hesitant to get in the way of a laser from Pedroia, allowing the second baseman to reach on an error by Cabrera. Verlander then walked Gonzalez, bringing up Ortiz with two on and two out.
Ortiz took a monster cut at Verlander’s first pitch, but the righty’s 96 mph gas was too much to catch up to. Verlander would eventually get Ortiz to strike out swinging in five pitches.
Jon Lester found himself in his first precarious situation of the season, but he navigates out of it rather well to keep the game scoreless after five innings. After allowing a first-pitch single from Ryan Raburn and then walking Peralta to put two on with nobody out, Alex Avila failed to get down a sacrifice bunt. Avila ended up swinging at strike three.
Ramon Santiago followed that up with a popup, before Lester fell behind Austin Jackson 3-0. Lester battled back to a full count before inducing a shallow fly to right for the third and final out.
Now it’s time to see if Verlander can once again hold serve.
From Dan Roche in Detroit: Two great strikeouts by the starters in this one. Verlander with a vicious curveball to get Cody Ross looking with Ortiz on third to end the Boston second inning. And then, Lester getting Prince Fielder looking on a 92 mph fastball witha runner on first in the fourth. He set that up with an 88 mph cutter for strike two. Pleasure to watch these two pitchers work today.
The Red Sox nearly got Verlander, but they still were unable to get on the board.
Ryan Sweeney blooped a single into shallow center with one out, followed up by Cody Ross sending a drive deep to right field. It just wasn’t enough, though, as Boesh was able to make the catch at the warning track. Saltalamacchia put up a two-out fight at the plate, but ended up grounding to second to end the inning.
Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see how both Lester and Verlander finish in their first outings of the year. If it were midseason, it would be safe to guess that both could go the distance, but given that it’s only April 5, we’ll have to wait and see if their managers have any limitations on their aces.
The pitchers’ duel continues, with Lester again putting another zero on the board. He had to work around a four-pitch walk to Miguel Cabrera, but he did so by getting Prince Fielder to look at a perfect fastball on the black for strike three.
It was a 13-pitch inning for the lefty, bringing his total on the day to 54.
Through four innings now, the two teams have combined for just four hits, while the pitchers have combined for 6 strikeouts.
Three more up, and three more down for Justin Verlander, who looked (and was) unhittable in the fourth.
Pedroia fouled out on just the second pitch of his at-bat, Gonzalez struck out looking at a picture-perfect curveball on the outside corner, and Ortiz launched a flyball to center field on just the third pitch of his at-bat.
Verlander’s now struck out four batters and allowed one hit through four innings, needing just 52 pitches to do so.
It took a bit more effort for Lester that inning, but he and the Sox escaped unscathed.
For the third straight inning, the Tigers led off with a hit, this one a smoked single up the middle by Jhonny Peralta. Alex Avila then smoked a ball into right field, but right at right fielder Ryan Sweeney for the out. Ramon Santiago hit a high popup behind short, with Cody Ross calling off Mike Aviles to make the play, and Austin Jackson ended the inning with a routine flyout to center.
Also of note that inning was a strong defensive play from Adrian Gonzalez. Lester attempted a pickoff throw to first but only managed to get the ball about halfway to the bag. Gonzalez came off the base and made the play, keeping Peralta at first base.
Lester’s now at 41 pitches through three innings, allowing three hits and striking out one batter. A well-rested Verlander now heads back to the mound.
The reigning AL MVP is rolling, as he’s now retired six straight batters, three by way of the strikeout. His most recent victims were Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Mike Aviles in the top of the third. Jacoby Ellsbury managed to make contact but could only muster a weak groundout to first base to end the inning.
The inning started with a loud ovation from the Detroit fans for their new cleanup hitter, Prince Fielder, and he kept them on their feet with a single. However, he was wiped out in the next at-bat as Lester induced a 6-4-3 double play ball from Delmon Young.
Lester then recorded his first strikeout of the season, getting Ryan Raburn swinging on an inside fastball.
Both pitchers look sharp early on, though that’s no surprise at all. Lester’s thrown just 18 pitches — 12 for strikes — through two innings.
David Ortiz got the Red Sox’ first hit of the season, going opposite field to left off Verlander for his first double of the season.
Youkilis, who was hitting .300 against Verlander entering the game, followed by grounding out to short, so Ortiz could not advance. Ryan Sweeney began his Red Sox career with a soft ground-out to second, which moved Ortiz over to third with two down. Cody Ross worked a 3-1 count, but the Cy Verlander fought back and got him looking at a nasty curve.
Ross fouled one off, but didn’t take the bat off his shoulder for three strikes. He’s filling the JD Drew roll nicely.
Ortiz left at third, game remains scoreless…
Red Sox 0, Tigers 0
Austin Jackson didn’t wait around, and took Jon Lester’s first pitch into shallow left-center to lead things off for the Tigers. But that was quickly erased by a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Brennan Boesch. Nicely spun by Dustin Pedroia at second, who was taken out by Jackson as he threw to first. Kevin Youkilis then made a nice play on a Miguel Cabera line drive to end the inning.
Lester needed just five pitches to retire the side. Pitchers duel anyone?
Red Sox 0, Tigers 0
1-2-3 inning for Verlander, as he gets Ellsbury, Pedroia and Gonzalez to each fly out on just nine pitches.
Red Sox 0, Tigers 0
The 2011 MVP faced the 2011 MVP-runner up to start the game off, with Justin Verlander getting Jacoby Ellsbury to fly out to left on three pitches.
First pitch is almost here. Both teams have been introduced, to a half-empty Comerica Park, and Tiger-great Al Kaline delivered the game’s first pitch.
Haley Reinhart’s national anthem was less than impressive, and CBSBoston.com Producer Steve Saleeba would have rather heard Eminem’s rendition. That would have made things interesting.
The A-10 flyover was pretty cool though.
It’s been 190 days since that magical, and miserable, night in Baltimore. Let’s play ball!
With the first pitch approaching, Dan Roche gives us a udpate from the field (and a quick one, as media had to be off the field by 12:15).
He met up with new manager Bobby Valentine and Jarrod Saltalamacchia this morning, who are both obviously very excited for today’s opener.
“I have the same feeling most of the guys have. I talked to a lot of them at the hotel early and some of them here now; it’s opening day and there’s only one opening day. It’s a very special day; the start of something new,” Valentine said of his first Opening Day since 2002.
Read: 2012 Red Sox Predictions
“I’m very excited. Opening day, Goosebumps, butterflies, all of that. It’s a good day,” said Saltalmacchia. “You feel rested on opening day, it’s the best day of the season.”
How do you think Bobby V got to the ballpark today? The answer probably won’t surprise you…
Rochie said nearly all of the players arrived at Comerica Park early this morning, ready to get the 2012 season started.