Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/30/12
BOSTON -- Daniel Nava felt overmatched his first time facing Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander. He certainly didn't look while it facing the reigning American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner when it mattered most. Nava hit a three-run double, and the Boston Red Sox pounded Verlander to move above .500 for the first time this season, beating the Tigers 6-3 Tuesday night. In his first at-bat, Nava was retired on a check-swing roller to third. But when he came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth, he worked the count to 3-2, then laced a 100 mph fastball into the left field corner. "That at-bat was as good of an at-bat as I've seen in a long time," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. "It was one of those at-bats that was impressive for you guys and the fans, but the guys in the uniform appreciated it more." Kevin Youkilis, Mike Aviles and Scott Podsednik had each singled, and Nava's double extended Boston's lead to 4-0. Nava has been a surprise contributor since he was recalled on May 10. "Just keep it simple," Nava said he told himself after the first at-bat. "I was just trying to simplify, not do too much." Verlander felt as if he got in trouble earlier in the at-bat. "He gave me a tough at-bat," the right-hander ace said. "I really feel like the turning point in that at bat was the 1-1 curveball I tried to throw. I threw it for a ball, got myself behind in the count and then threw another ball. So then I'm 3-1, and he knows what's coming. He hit it down the line for a double. Obviously, that was the turning point in the game." The win wasn't the only good news the Red Sox got Tuesday. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia told the media after the game that MRI results on his injured right thumb revealed a torn adductor muscle. "All of my ligaments and tendons are fine," Pedroia said. "I did it three weeks ago and (Monday) as well. What I did, surgery's not required." He said he hopes to stay off the disabled list. "I'm a quick healer," he said, smiling. It was the 13th win in 18 games for the steadily climbing Red Sox (25-24), who remain last in the AL East but are just 3 1/2 games out of first place. Prince Fielder had a solo homer and drove in two runs, and Jhonny Peralta also hit solo shot for the Tigers, who dropped their second straight to Boston. Daniel Bard (5-5) got the win, holding Detroit to two runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings. Verlander (5-3) gave up five runs on 10 hits, striking out seven and walking one in six innings. He hadn't allowed a run in his previous three starts against Boston, covering 16 2/3 innings. Verlander did pitch at least last six innings for the 53rd consecutive start, the longest such streak since Steve Carlton went 69 in a row from September 1973 to April 1982. "Justin wasn't as sharp obviously as normal. But give them credit, they swung the bats real good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "We just couldn't get enough offense going. Like I said, he was out of sync a little bit." David Ortiz had a solo homer run, two doubles and two RBI for the Red Sox. The Tigers had cut Boston's lead to 5-3 in the seventh before Ortiz belted a homer into the Green Monster seats in the bottom half of the inning. That was more than enough for Boston's bullpen, which has been on a splendid stretch since late April, lowering an 8.44 ERA to under 4.00. Alfredo Aceves closed it out for his 12th save in 15 chances. The game was halted by rain for 38 minutes in the bottom of the eighth. Surprisingly, Daniel Bard (5-5) had the edge in the early innings in the battle of hard-throwing right-handers. Bard, 26, limited the Tigers to two runs and five hits through 5 1/3 innings. He opened the game with better velocity than he had been showing lately, getting Quintin Berry looking on a 95 mph fastball to start the game. Peralta homered into Boston's bullpen, cutting the lead to 4-1 in the fifth. Ortiz had an RBI double in bottom of the inning. The Red Sox grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second when Ortiz lofted a double high off the Green Monster, advanced on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's single to left and scored when Aviles hustled to beat out a potential inning-ending double play grounder. It gave Aviles the club lead with 31 RBI. Bard was helped defensively by right fielder Ryan Sweeney, who made a sliding catch of a drive off the bat of Brennan Boesch before landing on his back. He made a nice spinning catch of a ball hit by Miguel Cabrera to end the third with runners on first and second. Sweeney started back to his right, then turned completely around, making the grab just before the warning track. The Tigers had a brief scare when Ortiz grounded one off Verlander's leg to end the third, but he came back for the fourth. NOTES: Valentine said Saltalamacchia left the game in the seventh because he wasn't feeling well. ... Tigers designated hitter Delmon Young was in a New York City courtroom Tuesday morning for a misdemeanor hate-crime harassment case, but made it back and was in the Tigers lineup. Young was charged with yelling anti-Jewish epithets at a group of tourists last month when Detroit was in New York to face the Yankees. ... Nick Punto was inserted into Pedroia's position and batted ninth. He went 1-for-4.
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