ALCS Game 4: Tigers 7, Red Sox 3

Jose Iglesias scored in a 5-run second inning for the Tigers. (Barry Chin, Globe Staff) 
by Steve Silva,

By Steve Silva, Staff

Detroit breakdown. Motor City shakedown. And the series is all tied up.

The Tigers evened the best of seven ALCS with the Red Sox 2-2 at Comerica Park in Game 4 with a convincing 7-3 win behind the solid starting pitching of Doug Fister while Red Sox starter Jake Peavy struggled with his control early on and didn't make it out of the fourth inning. 

While the Red Sox offense broke out for 12 hits against the Tigers, they left 10 runners on base and went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

John Farrell was asked if he'd shake up his lineup for Game 5 after Tigers manager Jim Leyland did just that for Game 4, moving Torii Hunter to the leadoff spot and inserting Jose Iglesias at shortstop.

"We had 12 hits tonight," Farrell said. "And you leave 10 men on base. The one thing when we've been in stretches like this, we continually do a very good job of creating opportunities.  We did that tonight. We haven't done it so much in the first three games.  But that's a tip of the hat to the pitching that we've been facing. But the one thing that we've maintained is a constant approach with the lineup and not creating further uncertainty.  And I think our guys have responded well to that.  I thought overall it was a very good offensive approach tonight, unfortunately two‑out base hit was elusive and any kind of extra base hit with any men on base."

Mike Napoli led off the top of the second inning with a doubles and was moved over the third base on a Daniel Nava ground out. But the Red Sox could not push the run across. Jarrod Saltalamacchia popped out to third baseman Miguel Cabrera in foul territory then Stephen Drew was called out on strikes to end the threat.

Peavy lost all control during a nightmarish bottom of the second that saw the Tigers plate five runs. Victor Martinez led off with a single. Peavy then walked Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila. Omar Infante then flied out to shallow center, but Martinez did not score as he was halfway down the line and not in position to tag up. Peavy then walked Austin Jackson on four pitches with the bases loaded for a run. Iglesias followed and hit a ground ball that had double play potential, but Dustin Pedroia bobbled it and the Sox were lucky to get Jackson at second as Drew was a foot off the bag when he made the catch but umpire Dan Iassaogna gave him the neighborhood call. Hunter then ripped a double to left to score two more runs. A bloop single by Cabrera drove in the fifth run of the inning and the permanent damage was done.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Infante led off with a ground rule double to left and Jackson drove him in with a sharp ground ball of the glove of Pedroia to make the score 6-0 in favor of the Tigers and Peavy was done for the night.

"I thought he was crisp in the first inning, and in the second inning looked like he pitched a little too fine," Farrell said of Peavy's performance. "Obviously the pitching behind the count, issued three walks.  They bunched some hits.  Obviously the big one, Torii Hunter's.  Even after that we walk in the two runs.  Iggy hits a hard hit ball to second base that looked like it handcuffed Pedey a little bit.  And instead of being out of it with just two runs, then the base hitting behind it, and they put five on the board in that second inning."

Brandon Workman then took over for Peavy and another run came across when Cabrera drove in Jackson who had stolen second base and moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt by Iglesias making the score 7-0. The Tigers then added insult to injury when Workman did not hold Cabrera on at first and the slow-footed third baseman strolled into second base, stealing the bag without a throw. 

All seven runs were charged to Peavy, who gave up five hits with three walks in an immensely disappointing effort. Peavy's career playoff ERA is now 10.31, and the three inning start was the shortest of his postseason career.

On the bright side, Boston's bullpen was not charged with a run in five innings pitched tonight. Red Sox relievers now have a 16-2/3 innings scoreless streak and a 0.74 ERA this postseason.

The Red Sox got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning. Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava singled then Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove Napoli in for Boston's first run of the game.

Tigers starter Doug Fister had a solid night, much like he did at Fenway Park against the Red Sox on September 2 — 6 innings, eight hits, one run, seven strikeouts with good control on his changeup and breaking ball. Lefthander Phil Coke came on in relief in of Fister in the seventh, but lasted for just one batter, pulled when Jacoby Ellsbury picked up this third hit of the game. Al Alburquerque followed Coke out of the Tigers bullpen and was greeted with a Shane Victorino double that knocked in Ellsbury with Boston's second run.

Game 4 marked Ellsbury's fifth career postseason game with at least three hits, passing Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz for the most in Red Sox team history. He had four hits on the night, making agent Scott Boras a happy man.

The Red Sox picked up their third run of the game in the ninth inning when Xander Bogaerts, who took over for Stephen Drew at short in the seventh inning, led off with a ground rule double and was knocked in when Ellsbury tripled for his fourth hit.

After the game, Farrell was asked if he would start Bogaerts in Game 5 at short or third base to replace either the struggling Drew or Will Middlebrooks.

"Haven't made a decision on tomorrow's lineup," he said.  "But given the way the left side of the infield, we're struggling a little bit to get production out of that side.  So it's something that's being considered for sure."

Thursday night's Game 5 will be a rematch of Game 1 starters Jon Lester vs. Anibal Sanchez. The Tigers prevailed 1-0 in that game at Fenway to open the series.

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