The hot Tigers looked like cool cats. They all pulled on their Tigers-striped Zubaz -- tops and bottoms -- in the Fenway Park clubhouse Sunday night for the late-night flight to Cleveland. They also were to arrive in Ohio attired in a six-game winning streak in which the bullpen had pitched 17 innings and not allowed a run. Sunday night, the relievers allowed one hit in their four innings and retired the last 10 hitters in order. On ESPN’s Sunday night telecast, the Tigers won, 6-2, and completed their first sweep of any length at Fenway Park in 31 years, since a four-gamer in 1983. In the three games, the Red Sox never led when they came to bat to start the bottom of an inning. On the road, the Tigers have swept four straight series for an 11-game road winning streak. Thanks to his bullpen and another big night of offense, right-hander Anibal Sanchez needed to go the minimum five innings for the win in his first start after he missed three weeks with a blister on his pitching hand. He was thrilled with how everything went in his 80-pitch outing. Second baseman Ian Kinsler, who played on two AL championship teams in Texas, was asked what impresses him the most now about the Tigers, whose 27-12 record is the best in the majors. “One word just comes to mind: complete,” Kinsler said. “We’re a versatile team that is able to do what it takes to win games. However the game asks us to perform, we’re able to do that. And the pitching staff is just as good as it gets. “You add the experience that we have. That makes us tougher -- more resilient as a team.” A sign of resilience is how scoreless frustration from one inning doesn’t carry over to later innings for the Tigers offense. Look at how Red Sox starter Jake Peavy “held” the Tigers scoreless in the first: Kinsler pulled the ball high off the 37-ft. Green Monster and had to accept a single. As Kinsler took off for second on a pitch, Torii Hunter hit a grounder right at the second-base bag, initiating a double play. Miguel Cabrera doubled to right-center, but he was stranded when Victor Martinez flied to left.
Detroit 6, Boston 2: Hot bullpen, hot bats cool Red Sox in sweep at Fenway Park
Detroit Free Press | May 19