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DET@BOS: Coke tosses seven shutout frames

BOSTON -- Manager Jim Leyland opted to let Phil Coke make his scheduled start at Fenway Park on Wednesday -- skipping right-hander Rick Porcello after a rainout the day before -- because he wanted the left-handed Coke to get a shot against the Red Sox's lineup.

It might have worked, too, if it wasn't for that meddling Boston weather.

A 26-minute rain delay forced Coke out of the game after 78 pitches, and the Red Sox pounced on Detroit's bullpen as they snuck away with a 1-0 win.

"I was fine," said Coke, who allowed just three hits, while walking one and striking out four. "I could have gone back out there after the delay, but sometimes you see guys trying to do that and they go out there and they don't have the same stuff they did."

Leyland said there was no thought of bringing Coke back in the game following the stoppage, even though Coke said he was capable of pitching a couple more innings.

"He was fantastic tonight," Leyland said. "He pitched a great ballgame. And [Clay Buchholz] did, too. We had them on the ropes a couple times, we had a couple good situations really, but we just couldn't deliver a sac fly or a base hit."

With Joaquin Benoit freshly removed from his eighth-inning duties after posting a 21.60 ERA in his last six outings, Daniel Schlereth got a shot in the scoreless game. Schlereth entered with two outs in the eighth to face the left-handed-hitting Carl Crawford, but he walked Crawford and gave up the go-ahead double to Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

"Carl Crawford has been on base with a lot of guys, so it's not a problem if he gets a base hit," Leyland said. "The one thing you don't want to do is walk him. That's not good."

Schlereth wouldn't blame the heavy fog and rain in the eighth inning for missing his location on a sinker that Saltalamacchia cranked off the Green Monster.

"That was belt-high," said Schlereth, who was visited by Leyland on the mound before the at-bat, as Leyland wanted to make sure the 25-year-old didn't lose focus with the speedy Crawford on first base. "My grandmother could hit that pitch. That's just a bad spot. I wanted to get that one down obviously, but I made a mistake."

Coke stymied Boston's left-handed-hitting batters, holding them hitless as he worked through seven scoreless innings before the Boston weather took a turn for the worse.

It matched the longest start of the 28-year-old's career, after spending his first four years in the Majors as a reliever. Coke induced three double plays, including two off the bat of the hot-swinging Adrian Gonzalez.

"It seemed like everything [was working]," said Coke, who credited his ability to pitch to contact rather than try for strikeouts as the reason he's had success his last few starts. "My fastballs were good. My sinker, my changeup and my slider were all there."

The Tigers could never get to Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, who entered Wednesday on a three-game winning streak.

After Buchholz hurled 100 pitches through six innings, Red Sox manager Terry Francona fearlessly sent him back out for a wild seventh.

"That needed to be his inning. He deserved that," Francona said. "I don't think he was tired. I know it was a lot and it was getting deep in the game. I think some of it was maybe the conditions -- again, he knows what the score was and what you can't give up. He stayed in his delivery all night."

Buchholz hit shortstop Jhonny Peralta before a single by Alex Avila put runners in scoring position with one out. Ryan Raburn fanned on three straight pitches before Buchholz plunked No. 9 hitter Brandon Inge to load the bases. But Austin Jackson lost a nine-pitch at-bat, getting called out on a check swing as Buchholz finished his night with a career-high 127 pitches.

Victor Martinez, making his return to Fenway for the first time since he played with the Red Sox last season, tried rallying his team with a leadoff double in the ninth, but the Tigers again couldn't capitalize against closer Jonathan Papelbon, who earned his eighth save. It was Martinez's only hit of the night in four at-bats.

"I wasn't thinking about just doing stuff against them, I always work hard to win no matter where I am," Martinez said. "I was only here for a year-and-a-half, but everything I did here was all thanks to my teammates and my fans here. I always say they're one of the best in sports."

Detroit's scoreless night marked the fourth straight game the Tigers put up less than four runs, as the bats have been dormant since putting up 29 runs in a three-game sweep of the Twins last week.

Jhonny Peralta went 0-for-3 to put an end to his 11-game hitting streak.

The loss ended Detroit's five-game road winning streak, the club's longest since 2007. The Tigers have now lost two straight. The last time they lost two in a row the club went on a seven-game losing streak through the end of April and first two days of May. Comments