Detroit’s reshuffled lineup erupted for five runs in the second inning on Wednesday en route to a 7-3 victory over Boston that knotted baseball’s American League Championship Series.
After the Tigers’ potent offense combined for just six runs over the first three games of the best-of-seven series, manager Jim Leyland reshuffled his batting lineup and saw the move pay off, with the Tigers leveling the set at two games apiece.
“I didn’t know what else to do,” Leyland said of the shake-up.
Torii Hunter replaced struggling Austin Jackson in the leadoff spot and contributed a two-run double.
Jackson, who had been batting .091 in the playoffs until Wednesday, was demoted to eighth in the batting order and went 2-for-2 with two walks, two runs-batted-in and a run scored.
“I think it just helped me relax,” Jackson said of the move. “I think that was the goal, and I just wanted to go up and be patient and get a pitch to hit.”
Slugger Miguel Cabrera, batting second instead of third, also had two hits, drove in two runs and stole a base for the reigning American League champions, who were due to host Game 5 yesterday.
The Tigers chased Red Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy in the fourth inning. The former Cy Young award-winner gave up seven runs on five hits and three walks and was lifted without notching an out in the fourth.
Detroit starter Doug Fister gave up one run as he scattered eight hits and a walk over six innings.
The Red Sox mustered 12 hits, but Boston went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners.
Wednesday’s result ended a string of three straight games in the series decided by one run.
Peavy dominated Detroit in a 12-pitch first inning, but the Tigers turned the tide when they batted around in the second.
Victor Martinez started the surge with a single. Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila both worked walks to load the bases. Martinez failed to tag up when Jacoby Ellsbury made a diving catch in shallow center field on Omar Infante’s sinking liner, but jogged home when Peavy walked Jackson on four pitches.
Jose Iglesias beat out a potential inning-ending double play ball to plate another run, and Hunter followed with a double down the third-base line to drive home two.
Cabrera notched an RBI single to cap the outburst, then added another in the fourth after Jackson ended Peavy’s night with a run-scoring hit.