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Valdez smacks two homers to lead Sox past Tigers, 6-3

By The Associated Press - | Jun 2, 2024

Boston's Emmanuel Valdez celebrates one of his two homers in Saturday's Red Sox win over the Tigers at Fenway Park. (AP phooto)

BOSTON (AP) — Enmanuel Valdez homered twice for his first career multihomer game and drove in three runs to power the Boston Red Sox past the Detroit Tigers 6-3 on Saturday.

The Red Sox improved to 32-9 — and 17-5 in the past two years — wearing their City Connect uniforms with bright yellow jerseys and powder blue lettering, numbers and hats since they were introduced in 2021.

Boston center fielder Ceddanne Rafaela made spectacular full-length diving catch on Wenceel Pérez’s shot in the right-center gap in the sixth and turned it into an inning-ending double play by throwing to second to double up Matt Vierling.

“I feel you can kind of see the reaction by all the guys in the dugout, tipping their caps and stuff,” said winning pitcher Cooper Criswell, when asked about players’ response to the catch. “It’s special. Not too many guys out there are making that play.”

Gio Urshela hit a two-run homer over the Green Monster for Detroit, which lost for the 12th time in its last 14 games against Boston.

“It was a big play. I don’t know if it was a turning point,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said of Rafaela’s catch. “The ball looked down from every angle except for him. He makes a great play and double off. … That was a big shift.”

Shortstop Javier Báez made a highlight play for the Tigers in the eighth, diving to snag Reese McGuire’s grounder before throwing to first.

Valdez’s big game came a day after Rafaela also homered twice for his first career multihomer game in Boston’s 7-3 victory.

Scoring single runs in the second, third and fourth, the Red Sox pulled to a 3-1 edge after Riley Greene’s RBI single gave the Tigers the lead two batters into the game.

Valdez sent a fastball from Reese Olson (1-6) into Boston’s bullpen, tying it in the second. He hooked a two-run shot that sneaked inside the Pesky Pole, making it 5-1 in the sixth.

“It feels great to hit one around the Pesky Pole,” Valdez said through a team translator. “I think I’ve been also hitting the ball hard. Over 100 miles an hour have been caught. To be able to get one is great.”

Coming off his worst start of the season when he gave up seven runs in four innings on Memorial Day in Baltimore, Criswell (3-2) allowed one run in five innings, striking out five with one walk.

Olson gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings. He hadn’t allowed more than one run in each of his previous six starts, posting a 0.77 ERA.

In the third, Dominic Smith’s fielder’s choice grounder drove in the go-ahead run.

McGuire’s sacrifice fly — coming on a catch that left fielder Greene made when he jumped up against a short wall in foul territory and then tumbled to the ground — made it 3-1.


Tigers: OF Mark Canha, a late scratch Friday with left hip soreness, took BP indoors Saturday. “So far, so good,” Hinch said about two hours before the first pitch. “The next step will be doing a little bit more activity on the field and see if he’s available (Saturday), going into (Sunday).”

Red Sox: Manager Alex Cora said OF Tyler O’Neill, on the injured list since May 26 with right knee soreness, should be back when he’s eligible to come off the IL next Wednesday. O’Neill had a cortisone shot Thursday. … Cora also said Friday’s starter and winner Tanner Houck was OK after he got hit on the pitching arm a day earlier. … DH/OF Masataka Yoshida, on the IL since late April with a strained left thumb, took BP Saturday. “I think he’s over the hump now and we’re just going to take off,” Cora said, adding he’s expected to take BP “every day.” … 2B Vaughn Grissom left with a strained right hamstring after running out a second-inning groundout. … 3B Rafael Devers fouled a ball off the inside of his right leg in the third, went to the ground but stayed in.


Tigers RHP Casey Mize (1-3, 4.71 ERA) is slated to start Sunday’s series finale against RHP Brayan Bello (6-2, 4.18).


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