Verlander, Iglesias Lead Tigers Past Red Sox 4-2
BOSTON (AP) - Justin Verlander gave the Detroit Tigers a quality start Monday night, and they capitalized. They could use more of that in a tightening AL Central race.
Jose Iglesias hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning, Verlander pitched six solid innings and the Tigers beat the Red Sox 4-2 to spoil Drew Pomeranz's second start with Boston.
Victor Martinez and James McCann also drove in runs for the Tigers. Detroit pulled within 5 1/2 games of idle AL Central-leading Cleveland.
"I think it's start by start," Verlander said. "You tend to string starts together, occasionally. I'm not thinking about the last one that happened, just thinking about the next one."
Verlander (10-6) allowed one run and five hits and struck out five to pick up the victory. He is 3-0 in his last five starts.
Francisco Rodriguez earned his 28th save.
Pomeranz (8-8), recently acquired from the San Diego Padres, gave up four hits and struck out seven in six innings. Both of the runs he allowed came via Iglesias' homer.
Boston, which had scored 46 runs in its last six outings, failed to homer Monday. That ended a streak of 15 straight games with at least one.
Pomeranz entered Monday's start looking to bounce back from his dismal Boston debut last week against San Francisco, in which he gave up five runs in just three innings.
He was cruising through five innings Monday, allowing just two hits. That changed in the sixth when Iglesias crushed Pomeranz's fastball high over the Green Monster in left for a two-run homer to put the Tigers up 2-1.
It was the first career homer in Fenway for Iglesias, who started his career in Boston before being traded to Detroit in 2013.
"When I was here I never had the opportunity to do that so I was really happy to do that against them," he said.
Iglesias scored his second run of the game in the eighth, trotting across home plate on Martinez's single off reliever Clay Buchholz to make it 4-1.
"I had a good curveball tonight. I was locating my fastball a lot better," Pomeranz said. "I was in a lot better counts all night. I really made one bad pitch."
Boston loaded the bases on three straight singles off Justin Wilson to begin its half of the eighth. A single by Sandy Leon pulled the Red Sox within 4-2, but Wilson settled down to get an out and Rodriguez came on to help end the rally.
Boston's hitters had several long at-bats against Verlander, pushing his pitch count above 40 through just two innings. In the second, Travis Shaw lined a double into the right-field corner, scoring Jackie Bradley Jr.
Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann, who has been sidelined since July 1 with a right neck strain, began a rehab assignment in Triple-A Toledo on Sunday night.
Red Sox: CF Mookie Betts returned to the lineup Monday after missing a pair of games with right knee soreness. ... Manager John Farrell said RHP Craig Kimbrel (left knee surgery) is progressing and looked good in a short bullpen session. He could make a rehab start this weekend.
KEEPING OPTIONS OPEN
Red Sox management is keeping its ears open to trade offers, but president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said it's not something he believes must happen to make a postseason push. He thinks the bullpen, which has been battered by injuries, will bounce back when Junichi Tazawa and Kimbrel are back to full strength. "I think we're in position where we're open-minded, but not a necessity," Dombrowski said.
Tigers C Jarrod Saltalamacchia made his first return to Fenway Park since he left in free agency in 2013 to join the Miami Marlins. The Red Sox honored him with a video tribute after the second inning. "I feel like Boston gave me my second chance," he said. "I was in Texas, sitting in Triple-A and they traded for me, gave me an opportunity to play here — kind of resurge, resurrect my career."
Tigers: RHP Mike Pelfrey (3-9, 4.78 ERA) is coming off a victory at Chicago last week, in which he allowed the White Sox just one run in 5 1/3 innings. Pelfrey hasn't allowed a home run his last eight road starts, spanning 45 1/3 innings.
Red Sox: RHP Steven Wright (12-5, 2.67) has won his last four starts. His lone appearance against Detroit was last July, when he allowed four runs over 4 1/3 innings in a loss.