BOSTON — Rookie Junichi Tazawa picked up his first win in the major leagues with five effective innings Tuesday as the Boston Red Sox rallied to beat the Detroit Tigers 7-5.
Tazawa (1-1) gave up three runs — one earned — in the first inning but settled down after that in his first career start, leaving with a 6-3 lead at Fenway Park.
The 23-year-old right-hander allowed four hits, struck out six and walked two in a 98-pitch outing.
Countryman Takashi Saito threw a perfect seventh to help Tazawa win.
“I’m so happy. I didn’t expect I would get a win in my first start,” Tazawa said.
“In the first two innings, I was a bit too nervous about the command of my pitches. I was thinking about too many things on the mound. But in the third, I gradually found myself and began to control my pitches better.”
Two weeks ago, Tazawa was pitching against Double-A hitters.
He made just two starts for Triple-A Pawtucket before being promoted to the majors Friday and made his major league debut that night at Yankee Stadium, where he gave up a walk-off two-run homer to Alex Rodriguez in a 2-0, 15-inning loss to the Yankees.
Mike Lowell hit two home runs for the Red Sox after entering the game when Kevin Youkilis was ejected for charging the mound.
Lowell hit a solo homer in the third to break a 3-3 tie, then added a two-run shot in the fifth to make it 6-3. He also scored on Jason Bay’s three-run homer after entering the game as a pinch runner when Youkilis and Detroit starter Rick Porcello were ejected for sparking the second-inning melee.
“The important thing was: we answered back right away,” said Lowell, the 2007 World Series MVP who has been part of a rotation at the corner infield positions since the Red Sox acquired Victor Martinez at the trading deadline.
Chris Lambert (0-1) allowed five runs on five hits and four walks in five innings, striking out three in relief after Porcello hit Youkilis in apparent retaliation for Tazawa’s plunking of Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera, who like Youkilis was also hit in the series opener on Monday night, later left the game with a bruise on his left hand.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland refused to answer questions about the second inning, and Porcello emerged from a meeting with Leyland and general manager Dave Dombrowski to say, “The only thing I have to say about that is I was not intentionally trying to hit Kevin Youkilis. It was unintentional.”
Francona was ejected later in the second inning for arguing about a play at second base. Rain delayed the game for 81 minutes before the start of the seventh with Boston still leading 6-3.