DETROIT (AP) — Jackie Bradley Jr. showed off his considerable promise in one big afternoon for the Boston Red Sox.
Bradley homered and drove in a career-high five runs, and the Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 7-2 on Sunday.
“Today is a flash of what Jackie is capable of doing,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “When he swings the bat like that, he has the potential to be an outstanding player.”
Bradley walked with the bases loaded in the second, homered in the seventh and tripled home three more runs in the eighth. Coming into the game, the 25-year-old Bradley had a .121 batting average with one extra-base hit and four RBIs in 58 at-bats.
“Every single day, I want to go out there and show that I’m putting the work in,” he said. “After that, you just have to let the game fall into place. You can’t worry about the results — you just have to put in the work.”
Henry Owens (1-1) pitched five-plus innings for his first major league win. He walked four, but allowed just one run and three hits.
“It’s good to get that out of the way,” he said. “After two starts, I can look back and feel like I can trust my pitches in the zone instead of just tinkering around the corners. I’ve got a win, I can throw my shoulders back, take a deep breath and take the next step.”
Detroit right-hander Justin Verlander (1-5) allowed two unearned runs in six innings. He struck out seven and walked three while throwing 113 pitches.
“Obviously, I need to go deeper into games, and I always want us to win, but that felt good,” he said. “That’s probably four times in my last six starts that I’ve pitched better than any start I had last season.”
Verlander walked Travis Shaw in the second inning, ending his career-best streak of three starts without a walk. Shaw was erased on a fielder’s choice, but Blake Swihart reached on an error on second baseman Ian Kinsler and Josh Rutledge loaded the bases with a slow chopper over the mound.
Bradley’s walk got the Red Sox on the board, and Brock Holt drove in another run with an infield hit on a dribbler to second.
“It’s hard enough to get guys out in this league, so when they keep hitting balls so badly that they get infield singles, it can get frustrating,” Verlander said. “But I’m kicking myself for the walk to Bradley. I wasn’t trying to hit corners there. I was going right at him, and just missed.”
Victor Martinez hit an RBI single in the third for Detroit, and Jefry Marte’s solo homer in the seventh trimmed Boston’s lead to 3-2. But the Red Sox put the game away with four runs off Ian Krol in the eighth.
David Ortiz beat the shift with a soft single to left, and Shaw followed with a base hit. After a sacrifice and a strikeout, the Tigers decided to walk the light-hitting Rutledge to face Bradley with the bases loaded.
Manager Brad Ausmus said he was setting up a lefty-vs-lefty matchup. But Krol has struggled with his control against lefties this season, and he was facing Bradley, who hits lefties better than righties in his career.
“At some point, we need our bullpen to get people out,” Ausmus said. “He’s the No. 9 hitter, he’s hitting under .200 and it was lefty vs. lefty. You have to get that out.”
Bradley got behind in the count, but fought back to 3-2 and then lined a 93-mph fastball into the corner for a triple. Holt followed with an RBI single to make it 7-2.
Red Sox: OF Hanley Ramirez missed his second straight game with a sore left foot. Ramirez fouled a ball off the foot on Friday and was later removed for a pinch runner. Farrell said he hopes to have Ramirez and 3B Pablo Sandoval (jammed thumb) available for Tuesday’s series opener in Miami.
Tigers: 1B Miguel Cabrera is scheduled to run the bases Tuesday as one of the final steps in his return from a calf strain that has sidelined the slugger since July 4. Although the Tigers have told Cabrera not to push his recovery and risk further injury, he is targeting the start of Detroit’s next homestand on Aug. 20.
Red Sox: Boston is off Monday before starting a two-game series in Miami on Tuesday.
Tigers: Detroit travels to Kansas City to start a 10-day, eight-game, three-city road trip. Matt Boyd (1-2, 7.90 ERA), who beat Johnny Cueto (7-7, 2.69 ERA) and the Royals in his first Tigers start last Tuesday, faces the same combination in the series opener on Monday night.