DETROIT – Javier Baez crushed an eye-level fastball for his first home run in a Detroit Tigers uniform and delivered a late win over the Boston Red Sox.
Baez, who smacked a fly ball off the right field fence for a walk-off winner on Opening Day, came up in another high-leverage moment Monday. The game was tied in the bottom of the eighth and Austin Meadows had led off with a line drive single.
Ryan Brasier, Boston’s best relief pitcher, came in to face Baez and threw a 2-2, 93 mph fastball well above the strike zone. But Baez got the barrel to it and pulled a no-doubt homer inside the foul pole and into the left field bleachers.
It gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead, which was enough for closer Gregory Soto, who slammed the door in the ninth.
The Tigers improved to 2-2 on the season.
Matt Manning led the way for Detroit on the mound, retiring 18 of the 19 batters he faced in six innings. The only outlier was a J.D. Martinez home run in the fifth. Alex Lange and Michael Fulmer both delivered scoreless innings between Manning and Soto.
These two teams will be back on the diamond at 1:10 p.m. Tuesday for the second game of this series.