The Red Sox were just two outs away from suffering their sixth straight defeat Sunday night, but David Ortiz would not let them fall to 0-6.
The night began as few nights seem to do these days: with a Red Sox lead. John Lackey looked sharp early on, retiring the first six batters he faced to send the game into the third scoreless. There, singles from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt set up Dustin Pedroia for a sacrifice fly that gave Boston the early lead.
Said lead would last almost no time at all. A leadoff single from Austin Jackson turned, effectively, into a double when Jackson swiped second. Alex Avila would strieks out, but a Eugenio Suarez single left the game tied once again just minutes after the Red Sox had taken the lead. Only a desperate lunging grab from Brock Holt, making his first professional appearance in the outfield, kept Ian Kinsler from potentially putting the Tigers ahead.
The reprieve would last for only that one inning. After Stephen Drew and Jackie Bradley Jr. failed to get A.J. Pierzynski home from third with one out, the Tigers got their second run of the game in the bottom of the fourth on just two pitches, with Miguel Cabrera doubling to right on the first of the inning, and Victor Martinez singling him home on the second. Only a quick double play from Torii Hunter kept that particular inning from spiraling out of control, but the Red Sox trailed all the same.
As was the trend with this game, the lead did not last long. In just his third at bat back from injury, Mike Napoli hit one of those high fly balls of his that just kept on carrying until it dropped into the first rows of seats in right field. It was just the first home run allowed by Anibal Sanchez, and it brought the Red Sox even again at 2-2.
John Lackey would manage to maintain the tie in the bottom of the sixth, but after the Red Sox wasted a one-out triple from Brock Holt in the seventh (noticing a trend here?), an error from Xander Bogaerts and a pair of singles cost John Lackey and the Red Sox a run in the bottom of the frame. With just six outs left to their name, the Red Sox seemed to be headed straight towards yet another depressing loss.
For once, though, it was not to be. John Lackey managed to keep the Red Sox within a run in the eighth, leaving the Tigers to turn to none other than Joba Chamberlain to keep the Red Sox out of it. The former Yankee's success against the Red Sox this year has often been a case of insult added to injury, pitching in four of Boston's losses to the Tigers so far. This time, however, he looked more like his old eminently vulnerable self. Brock Holt led off the inning with a single, and after Xander Bogaerts struck out, Dustin Pedroia fought back from an 0-2 hole to draw a walk. That brought up David Ortiz. Chamberlain's third pitch to the ever-clutch designated hitter was a hanging slider, and Ortiz did not miss his chance. Where Napoli had barely cleared the wall in right, Ortiz absolutely destroyed the ball, admiring his work as it landed some dozen rows into the seats.
Staring a 3-2 deficit in the face entering the inning, the Red Sox now found themselves ahead by two. That meant just one thing: Koji time. As per usual, Boston's closer needed just three at bats to end things in the ninth, leaving the Red Sox--finally--winners once again.