DETROIT – The Tigers passed their first test in four weeks against a team with a track record. Tarik Skubal’s five goalless innings in Thursday’s 8-1 win over the Red Sox were also a point.
While Miguel Cabrera’s hunt for his 500th home run to Cleveland continues on Friday evening, Detroit made a statement on the way out of town with the rubber match against Boston on Thursday afternoon. After an ugly defeat on Wednesday night, the Tigers led from their first at-bat on Thursday – a Robbie Grossman lead-off home run – and added steadily until it turned into a blowout.
Like so many other games this summer, the Tigers played offensively with limited strength. Grossman’s leadoff homerun was Detroit’s only homer of the day. Victor Reyes tripled from either side of the plate, including a two-run, two-out gapper to the center right, to build a six-run lead in the fifth inning. At this point, the Tigers had long since left Red Sox starter Martín Pérez behind, who gave up more hits (five) than he recorded outs (four).
Skubal seemed to risk a similar fate at times, but six runners were stranded from the second through the fifth innings. He escaped second and third one-out jams in the third inning with a called third strike on JD Martinez and a long flyout from Xander Bogaerts.