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Red Sox lose 6-2 to Tigers, dropping 4th straight after winning season-high 7 games in a row

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DETROIT - Rubby De La Rosa insisted he felt a lot like he did in his first start of the season.

The Boston Red Sox right-hander did acknowledge, though, his location was not as good.

The Detroit Tigers made him pay for that.

Ian Kinsler and Torii Hunter hit back-to-back homers off high pitches in the fifth inning and Victor Martinez cleared the fences in the eighth, helping the Detroit Tigers beat Boston Red Sox 6-2 and end a season-high five-game losing streak.

De La Rosa (1-1) gave up four runs, nine hits and two walks. He had five strikeouts over 5 2-3 innings. In his first start of the year, he threw seven scoreless innings against Tampa Bay last week.

"I feel almost 100 per cent like last time," De La Rosa said. "I just missed more pitches."

Boston has lost four straight after winning seven in a row. The Red Sox are averaging fewer than three runs during the losing streak.

"Offensively, we're scuffling," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We've had a rough go with runners in scoring position."

The Red Sox hope to end a trend this weekend.

In their last seven series, they been swept four times and have won each game in the other three matchups.

"We became so accustomed to being consistent," Farrell said. "The last two and a half weeks have been difficult."

Kinsler and Hunter cleared the fences during a three-pitch sequence in the fifth, giving the Tigers a 4-1 lead.

"They squared (De La Rosa) up when he was up in the strike zone," Farrell said.

Drew Smyly (3-4) allowed two runs on five hits over six innings. He struck out four and walked only one.

Ian Krol and Joba Chamberlain each threw an inning of scoreless relief and Joe Nathan pitched the ninth in a non-save situation with a four-run lead.

Detroit had lost 13 of 17 games, including the previous four, since sweeping the Red Sox on the road a few weeks ago.

Smyly snapped a skid of his own. He was 0-2 in his last two starts, giving up a total of nine runs over nine innings, and was 0-3 in his previous six outings.

Brock Holt led off the game with a single off Smyly and Xander Bogaerts followed with double that nearly cleared the left-centre field wall to make it 1-0.

Detroit shortstop Andrew Romine tied the game with an RBI double in the third.

Martinez gave the Tigers a two-run lead in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly and they could have scored even more runs in the four-hit inning if Miguel Cabrera did not make a baserunning error. Cabrera was on first base with no outs when Martinez hit a drive to right-centre, and he rounded second base by the time he knew centre fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. caught the ball, leading to an easy double play.

Kinsler and Hunter cleared the fences during a three-pitch sequence in the fifth, giving the Tigers a 4-1 lead.

The Red Sox pulled within two runs in the sixth when Dustin Pedroia reached on Romine's throwing error, advanced to third on David Ortiz's single through the right side against a shifted infield and scored on Jonny Gomes' sacrifice fly.

Martinez sent a soaring shot over the left field wall in the eighth inning off Chris Capuano and backup catcher Bryan Holaday followed with a triple, chasing the Red Sox reliever after just six pitches. Austin Jackson followed with a sacrifice fly to give Detroit a four-run cushion.

NOTES: Red Sox hitting coach Greg Colbrunn is expected to stay hospitalized in Cleveland for at least another week after he had bleeding in the area between his brain and the thin tissues covering it. Tim Hyers, Boston's minor league hitting co-ordinator, is filling in for Colbrunn while he's away from the team indefinitely. ... The Tigers will send RHP Max Scherzer (6-2) to the mound against Red Sox LHP Jon Lester (6-6) on Saturday in a nationally televised game. ... Boston RHP Clay Buchholz (left knee) is scheduled to throw a simulated game Saturday in Detroit, where Mike Napoli, who is on the DL with a sprained left finger, is expected to hit against him. ... Red Sox OF Shane Victorino (hamstring) took batting practice Friday.

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