Celtics

May 29, 2011: Tigers 3, Red Sox 0

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May 29, 2011: Tigers 3, Red Sox 0

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

DETROIT All good things must come to an end, and so the Red Sox five-game win streak ended with a 3-0 loss in Detroit Sunday night. Their loss bookends their 5-2 road trip, which began in Cleveland on May 23 with a loss.

Josh Beckett took the loss, falling to 4-2, with a 1.80 ERA. Beckett went six innings, giving up two runs on five hits, with a season-high five walks, and five strikeouts. Beckett threw 107 pitches, 65 for strikes.

Beckett gave up as many runs in the first inning, two, as he allowed in his previous five outings, spanning 30 innings.

Justin Verlander earned the win, improving to 5-3. He went 7 23 scoreless innings, giving up four hits and two walks with three strikeouts. He threw a career-high 132 pitches, 83 strikes. His final pitching, walking Jacoby Ellsbury in the eighth, was a 100-mph fastball.

The Tigers did all their damage against Beckett in the first inning. Beckett struck out Austin Jackson, leading off, before allowing the next four batters to reach base. Andy Dirks walked and scored on Brennan Boeschs double to right. Boesch then scored on Miguel Cabreras single to right. It was Cabreras first career hit off Beckett. Victor Martinez, who went 3-for-3 against Beckett, singled to right before Beckett could retire Don Kelly on a fly ball to Carl Crawford in left and Alex Avila on a called strike, on a curveball.

The Sox best chance to score came in the eighth. J.D. Drew hit a one-out single and took second on center fielder Austin Jacksons bobble. After Jason Varitek struck out, looking at a Verlander curveball, Ellsbury worked Detroits ace for a six-pitch walk, driving Verlander from the game. But Joaquin Benoit came in and retired Pedroia on a fly out to Dirks in left.

The Tigers added another run in the eighth off Scott Atchison, who gave up a lead-off double to Cabrera and an RBI single to Kelly.

Jose Valverde, who coughed up the go-ahead home run to Ortiz in the first game, pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 12th save of the season.

Player of the Game: Justin Verlander

After his team had lost the first three games of the four-game series, Verlander shutdown the Sox over 7 23 scoreless innings to the win, improving to 5-3 with a 3.12 ERA. He gave up four hits and two walks with three strikeouts. He threw a career-high 132 pitches, 83 strikes. His final pitch, walking Jacoby Ellsbury in the eighth, was a 100-mph fastball.

And its not just his fastball, said Jason Varitek. Hes got a lot of weapons.

In his last four starts against the Red Sox, Verlander has pitched a combined 30 23 innings, giving up six earned runs for a 1.76 ERA.

Honorable Mention: Brennan Boesch

Boesch entered the game 0-for-3 in his career against Beckett. In his first at-bat he recorded his first hit against the Sox right-hander. It would prove to be all the offense the Tigers would need.

In the first inning with Andy Dirks on first with a walk, Boeschs double to right scored Dirks with the Tigers first run. Boesch then scored on Miguel Cabreras single to right.

Boeschs double was his only hit of the game, but it was the difference maker.

The Goat: Josh Beckett

Beckett could just as easily been named in the Honorable Mention category. Although he took the loss, falling to 4-2 (1.80 ERA), Beckett pitched well enough to keep the Sox in the game. He went six innings, giving up two runs on five hits, with a season-high five walks, and five strikeouts. Beckett threw 107 pitches, 65 for strikes. He gave up as many runs in the first inning, two, as he allowed in his previous five outings, spanning 30 innings.

He gave up two runs on a walk and three hits in the first inning. After that, he allowed just two runners Danny Worth in the second and Victor Martinez in the third to advance as far as second base.

Turning Point: Sox miss their chance

The Sox best chance to score came in the eighth. With Verlander still in the game and approaching his career-high in pitches, J.D. Drew hit a one-out single and took second on center fielder Austin Jacksons bobble. After Jason Varitek struck out, looking at a Verlander curveball, Jacoby Ellsbury worked Detroits ace for a six-pitch walk, driving Verlander from the game. Verlanders final pitch was a 100-mph fastball. But Joaquin Benoit came in and retired Pedroia on a fly out to Dirks in left, ending the Sox' best threat.

Jose Valverde, who gave up David Ortizs ninth-inning, go-ahead home run in the first game, pitched a perfect ninth to secure the win.

By the Numbers: .134

After batting .295 (64-for-217) in the first six games of the seven-game road trip, the Red Sox could do very little against Verlander and the Tigers in the finale, going 4-for-30, batting .134. In all, they hit .275 on the road trip. Their team average is now .267.

Quote of Note:

The last games what we care about and we lost tonight. But were playing better baseball, giving ourselves a chance. Well get home and play soon. -- Manager Terry Francona on the Red Sox' 5-2 road trip

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

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WATCH: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics host the 76ers at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Bruins put finishing touches on reeling Canadiens

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Bruins put finishing touches on reeling Canadiens

MONTREAL -- The Boston Bruins weren’t about to dance on any Montreal Canadiens’ graves after it was over and done with, but they effectively closed the door on any flickering playoff hopes for the Habs this week. It all ended with Saturday night’s 4-1 win over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre that finished off the sweep of all three meetings between the two arch-rivals over an eight day span, and with the reeling Montreal a stunning 13 points out of a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.

It was a close game nearly all the way through in Montreal until David Pastrnak and Riley Nash scored in the final few minutes of the third period, but the Bruins outscored the Habs by an 11-5 margin while clearly establishing they were the better team in all three contests. It all makes sense given the opposite directions that the two hockey clubs are headed at this point in the season, and because of that the Bruins were playing it pretty cool after burying the Habs.

“It was kind of a crazy week because we were playing them three times, so we obviously wanted to play good hockey,” said Tuukka Rask, who won all three games vs. the Habs while improving his lifetime record vs. the Habs to 10-15-3 in the process. “[We wanted to] get as many points as possible, and won all of those games along with the one on Long Island. So it was a great week for us.”

Certainly it seemed like there was more genuine emotion from the Bruins in Claude Julien’s return to Boston midweek, and perhaps a little more adrenaline in last weekend’s first game at the Bell Centre where rookies like Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy and Danton Heinen were dipping their toes into the storied rivalry for the first time.

But on this Saturday night it was more about a complete dismantling of the Bleu, Blanc and Rouge even as the Bruins initially fell down by a goal after a bad McAvoy turnover. Instead it was Boston’s Perfection Line that went to work with an efficient, dominant performance as David Pastrnak scored the game’s first goal and insurance third goal in the third period. They also accounted for the game-winner when Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak hemmed Montreal’s fourth line in the defensive zone, and Torey Krug eventually stepped up and rifled one short side on Carey Price.

Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak combined for two goals, six assists and a plus-8 in the resounding victory over the Habs, and had a dominant 12 of Boston’s 31 shots on net when the final horn had sounded. They simply overwhelmed Montreal with their depth, the high end quality of their lineup and the fact that Boston was rested while the Habs had to play in Washington DC on Friday night in a three games in four days stretch.

All of that allowed the Bruins to drive the final nail into Montreal’s coffin when the game was over, and it furthermore allowed Boston to keep worrying about the teams they’re trying to catch (ahem . . . Tampa Bay Lightning) rather than Eastern Conference bottom-feeders like the Canadiens.

“We talked about doing the job against them and finding a ways to push teams down while gaining ground on the teams above us,” said Patrice Bergeron. “I thought it was a great effort again. We knew that they would be ready for us, but we also knew that they had played last night. So maybe if we had a good start we could jump on them. I thought we had a good game.”

Clearly there have been ebbs and flows to the Bruins/Habs rivalry over their long history together, and both Boston and Montreal have been in the catbird seat at different times even in the recent editions of their history. But right now Boston is beating the Canadiens badly at their own skill and speed game and dominating thing with pure hockey rather than bullying, and that’s got to sting for a Habs group that simply couldn’t compete with the Bruins in three different chances to do so this week. 

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