BOSTON (AP) — Rob Refsnyder has learned how fleeting opportunities are in the major leagues, bouncing to five different teams in seven seasons.
The 31-year-old already feels like his sixth stop in Boston is the one he’s been waiting for.
Refsnyder hit a two-run homer in the third inning to help the Red Sox book their third series sweep of the season, beating the Detroit Tigers 6-2 on Wednesday-evening.
In only 10 games, Refsnyder has 11 hits in 27 at bats with five RBI’s.
“So many parts of my career in the beginning I wasn’t excited or happy with how I played,” he said. “I think the Red Sox really believe that you get into the big leagues, you’re not a finished product, you can get better and better. … They really helped me to still develop at the age of 31. Happy that I have.’
Jarren Duran and Alex Verdugo each added a double-run double, as Boston won for the eighth time in 10 games. Michael Wacha (6-1) threw six innings, gave up two runs and five hits with seven strikeouts to help the Red Sox improve to an eight-game high above .500.
“He gave us what we needed,” manager Alex Cora said of Wacha, who has kept opponents at a .125 batting average with runners in scoring position.
Javier Báez hit a two-run homer for the Tigers, who lost nine of the eleven.
Tarik Skubal (5-5) lasted 4 2/3 innings and gave up six runs on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts. He has lost his last three starts.
“You want to save a win. We jumped ahead today and couldn’t finish the game on a positive note,” said Tigers manager AJ Hinch.
Báez put the Tigers up front in the first and drove Wacha’s first-pitch fastball to the seats above the Green Monster for his sixth homerun of the season. It extended his hit streak to seven games, one night after hitting a double cycle deficit.
Báez has three homeruns in his last five games, having hit only one in the previous 45 games.
The lead lasted until the third, when Duran tied the score and ripped a line drive into the corner of left field for Christian Vázquez and Bobby Dalbec to score.
Refsnyder was next, recovering from a 0-2 count to lift a flyout to center left that hit off the lip of the Monster. It was originally ruled a double, but was then counted as a homer after a quick review by umpires.
The drive was Refsnyder’s first home run for Boston since signing as a free agent in December.
Detroit had runners on the corners with no outs in the sixth, but Wacha struckout Harold Castro and Robbie Grossman before Spencer Torkelson lined out to the middle.
Cora said the way the Red Sox have been able to combine timely hitting with good baserunning and solid defense is encouraging.
“To be able to apply pressure in different ways, not just in the batter’s box, is good to see,” he said.
Red Sox: Cora said Duran will not travel with the team next week for the three-game series in Toronto, as he has not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and is banned from entering the country under Canadian rules.
WHAT A NIGHT
Red Sox rookie Jeter Downs didn’t exactly have the major league debut he wanted on the plate (0 to 4), but it didn’t make the evening any less memorable.
“That was the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I still can’t believe it happened. I still can’t believe the game is over. It felt so fast,” Downs said. “It didn’t go the way I wanted, but oh well. The team has won.”
In addition to having several family members present, the 25-year-old also got a pregame congratulation tweet from Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, who met his namesake a few years ago.
“Congratulations and good luck… unless you’re playing against the Yankees,” he wrote in the post.
Tigers: RHP Rony Garcia (1-2, 4.97 ERA) will be looking for his second win in a row as he takes the mound on Friday to open Detroit’s three-game series in Arizona.
Red Sox: RHP Nick Pivetta (7-5, 3.31) is on the mound as Boston begins a three-game run in Cleveland on Friday.
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