(Reuters) - The Detroit Tigers made sure they did not waste another starting pitching gem with a breakout 7-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday that tied the American League Championship Series at 2-2.
The Tigers unleashed their bats in Game Four with a five-run second inning before generating more than enough run support to separate from the Red Sox and even up the best-of-seven affair.
“It was awesome, we needed it,” Detroit’s Torii Hunter told reporters at Comerica Park.
“We knew we were down 2-1, but told ourselves ‘relax, have fun and just go out and play the game’.”
Manager Jim Leyland made a critical change to the Tigers lineup, dropping Austin Jackson from the leadoff spot to number eight and moving everyone else up in the order. It immediately paid dividends.
Thriving in his new spot, Jackson went 2-for-2 with two RBIs for his best game of the playoffs.
“I think it just helped me relax,” Jackson said. “That was the goal. To get me to relax, be patient get a good pitch and let the rest take care of itself.”
New leadoff hitter Hunter powered a two-run double during second-inning charge, Miguel Cabrera went 2-for-4 to build a 7-0 lead with his second RBI in the fourth inning as Detroit responded strongly to consecutive tough defeats.
After claiming the series opener last week, the Tigers lost a five-run lead in Game Two and were shutout 1-0 in Game Three, despite pitchers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander combining to strike out 23 and allow just two runs in those defeats.
Detroit’s Doug Fister followed form by allowing just one run and striking out seven batters in six innings Wednesday as the Tigers avoided another letdown.
Boston’s man on the mound, Jake Peavy, was blasted during three innings that saw him surrender seven runs.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia got the Red Sox on the scoreboard with an RBI single in the sixth inning, and they added runs in the seventh and ninth but there would be no comeback this time.
David Ortiz, who delivered a memorable tiebreaking grand slam in Game Two, flied out with a man on base for the final out in the ninth.
Jacoby Ellsbury had four hits and an RBI for the Red Sox in the defeat.
Game Five is on Thursday back in Detroit.
Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Nick Mulvenney