Published February 05, 2015
(SportsNetwork.com) - The team with the best winning percentage in the majors entering the weekend shoots for a fifth straight win Saturday as the streaking Detroit Tigers contend against the Boston Red Sox in the second of a three- game series at Fenway Park.
Winners of five of the last six, Detroit, which has won 25 of 37 overall (.676) and is a staggering 12-4 away from home, is in the midst of a nine-game road trip that has the squad dropping in on Cleveland for a series starting on Monday night. On Friday the Tigers were limited to just a single run, but that was still enough to earn them the win in the series opener.
Torii Hunter's single to center in the top of the first inning scored Ian Kinsler and that's all Detroit needed in order to maintain a 6 1/2 game lead in the American League Central over Minnesota. Hunter finished with two of the team's six hits, while Alex Avila and Danny Worth struggled at the bottom of the order with three strikeouts apiece.
Max Scherzer snagged his sixth win in seven decisions, allowing three hits and four walks, striking out seven, through six innings for Detroit. Joe Nathan, the fifth pitcher of the night for the Tigers, threw a perfect ninth for his 11th save.
"If you go out there -- I don't care if you're at home or on the road -- and play good baseball, then you can win games," Scherzer remarked. "If we get good pitching, the way we have been, with this offense, we can beat anybody in anybody's place."
Jon Lester was the hard-luck loser as he permitted the only run of the game. Lester gave up four hits and walked three, fanning seven, through five innings. Now batting .304, David Ortiz notched one of three singles for the hosts.
"I enjoy these matchups a lot more when we win," said Lester. "Obviously we've had a couple of these this year. I was fortunate to be on the other side of the one in Chicago (against White Sox ace Chris Sale)."
Heading back to the hill for the Tigers this evening is Rick Porcello as he seeks his seventh win in eight decisions. The right-hander, who is just 1-3 in his career versus Boston, is coming off his fifth straight win on Monday when he defeated Baltimore on the road, 4-1.
Porcello allowed just a single run on five hits over the course of six innings of action, lowering his ERA on the season to 3.22 in the process.
On the season, Detroit is sporting the second-best team ERA in the AL at 3.25, three spots ahead of the Red Sox who own a mark of 3.71.
The Red Sox will counter with John Lackey as he shoots for his fourth win in a row. Against the Texas Rangers in Arlington last weekend, the right-hander struck out nine, without walking a single batter over seven innings of work. En Route to a 5-2 victory, Boston saw Lackey scatter seven hits, resulting in just two earned runs.
Now in his fourth season in New England, Lackey has a career record of 6-3 to go along with a 3.86 ERA in 12 starts versus the Tigers.
Detroit squeezed out a 4-3 advantage in the series last season with the Sox, a year after the clubs split 10 meetings in 2012.