Justin Upton grand slam helps Detroit Tigers avoid sweep vs. Boston Red Sox

By Gethin Coolbaugh, The Sports Xchange
Justin Upton grand slam helps Detroit Tigers avoid sweep vs. Boston Red Sox
Detroit Tigers left fielder Justin Upton (8) hits a grand slam. File photo by Shelley Lipton/UPI | License Photo

BOSTON -- One swing from Justin Upton made Daniel Norris' first career start at Fenway Park a memorable one.

Upton jacked a grand slam and drove in five runs as the Detroit Tigers avoided a three-game sweep with an 8-3 rout of the Boston Red Sox on Sunday night.


Norris (3-4) had made one prior appearance at Fenway Park, as a reliever, and it too was memorable. Norris struck out the only batter he faced -- Red Sox slugger David Ortiz -- on Sept. 5, 2014.

On Sunday, Norris gave up two runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out six over five innings.

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"Sure, in a perfect game I don't go (only) five innings. I'd like to go six, seven, eight," Norris said. "But you want to look at the positives. We won. I gave up a couple runs, limited damage."

Upton's grand slam was the fifth of his career and his team-leading 13th home run. The ball sailed approximately 344 feet and clanged off Pesky's Pole in right field with one out in the fifth inning.


His last grand slam came as a member of the San Diego Padres on May 24, 2015, against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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"I thought I hit it hard enough that it would run out of time to curve," Upton said. "Take them how you can get them."

Nicholas Castellanos added a two-run homer, his eight of the year, and Ian Kinsler also had an RBI for Detroit (30-32), which snapped a three-game losing streak.

Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia and Christian Vazquez each drove in a run for Boston (34-28). The Red Sox outscored the Tigers 16-6 in winning the first two games of the series.

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Drew Pomeranz (6-3) took the loss to snap a career-best, three-start winning streak. He allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits and two walks with two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.

"It's a matter of just more consistent execution," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Pomeranz. "I don't have anything else today but that. He's shown the ability to do it."


Detroit struck for three runs in the first inning against a shaky Pomeranz.

With a man on base, Castellanos blasted a 2-0 Pomeranz fastball roughly 448 feet into the Green Monster seats in left-center field in the game's second at-bat for a 2-0 lead.

Upton's two-out, opposite-field single drove in another run for the Tigers.

Ramirez's hard-hit RBI single got a run back with two outs in the Boston first. Pedroia's one-out RBI double in the third brought the Red Sox within a run.

Pomeranz escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning but walked the bases full again in the fifth, leading Farrell to take him out in favor of reliever Heath Hembree.

One batter later, Upton unloaded on a 96 mph fastball from Hembree for his grand slam.

"Felt like it was a chance to try to get a matchup," Farrell said of his move to Hembree. "Didn't work out. The five runs ends up being quite a difference in this one tonight.

Said Pomeranz: "You get out of the first bases-loaded (situation) and then I get taken out in the next bases-loaded one. Obviously, I want to get out of all of those situations and stay in there and stay in the game as long as I can, but it's part of the game."


Kinsler's RBI single after Upton's homer capped Detroit's five-run fifth.

Vazquez's run-scoring single in the sixth cut the Red Sox's deficit to 8-3.

Boston loaded the bases for Chris Young with two outs in the ninth, but he lined out to shortstop to end the 4-hour, 6-minute game.

NOTES: Detroit 1B Miguel Cabrera hit a single off the Green Monster in the fifth inning with a 101.7 mph exit velocity, his hardest hit since May 31. ... Tigers 3B Nicholas Castellanos' 448-foot homer Sunday is his longest since Statcast began tracking home run distances in 2015. ... Boston RHP Carson Smith (Tommy John recovery) is scheduled to face live hitting off a mound Tuesday. He threw 25 pitches off the Fenway Park mound on Saturday. ... Detroit recalled LHP Chad Bell from Triple-A Toledo and optioned RHP Arcenio Leon to Toledo before the game. ... Red Sox RHP Rick Porcello (3-8, 4.46 ERA) opposes Philadelphia Phillies RHP Jerad Eickhoff (0-7, 5.15 ERA) on Monday. ... Tigers RHP Buck Farmer (2-0, 0.00 ERA) counters Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke (8-3, 3.20 ERA) on Tuesday.


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