DETROIT — Much will be made of the lineup change Detroit Tigers Manager Jim Leyland made Wednesday before Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
But that had little to do with Detroit’s 7-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Boston starter Jake Peavy couldn’t command his pitches, nor contain the Tigers.
Detroit got to Peavy for five runs in the second inning and two in the fourth as Detroit evened the best-of-seven series 2-2.
Game 5 is at 8 p.m. Thursday.
The Red Sox had 12 hits, four from Jacoby Ellsbury, but mounted few rallies, leaving 10 runners on.
To jump-start his team, all Leyland did was drop slumping leadoff batter Austin Jackson to the eighth spot and move the rest of the players up in the order.
“It certainly can’t hurt,” Leyland said before the game. “Just a little something to, you known, churn up the butter a little bit.”
Red Sox Manager John Farrell said the lineup wouldn’t affect Peavy’s approach.
“After that first inning, you’re into the mix (of the same hitters) anyway,” Farrell said.
Peavy cruised through a 1-2-3 first but lost command in the second.
Victor Martinez poked a two-strike outside fastball to left field to lead off the inning.
Peavy walked Jhonny Peralta on four pitches. He got ahead of Alex Avila 1-2 but walked him in an eight-pitch at-bat, loading the bases with no outs.
Ellsbury made a diving catch in shallow center field and Martinez held. But Peavy then walked Jackson on four pitches, scoring a run.
Jose Iglesias scorched a grounder to second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who couldn’t field it cleanly. Pedroia got the force at second base but no double play. A run scored and more would follow.
Torii Hunter drove in two with a double down the left-field line. Miguel Cabrera singled him in for a 5-0 lead.
The Red Sox recorded hits in eight innings but kept leaving runners on.
Mike Napoli doubled to lead off the second and went to third on a groundout. But Jarrod Saltalamacchia popped out to Cabrera in foul territory and Stephen Drew struck out.
Ellsbury singled in the third with one out. Pedroia walked with two outs. David Ortiz worked a full count before grounding out.
Peavy pitched to only two batters in the fourth – an Omar Infante double and Jackson’s RBI single off the glove of a diving Pedroia for a 6-0 lead.
Brandon Workman relieved and got two outs before giving up an RBI single to Cabrera to make it 7-0.
Ellsbury doubled in the fifth but was stranded.
In the sixth, the Red Sox finally mounted a rally with three straight singles with one out –Napoli, Daniel Nava, and an RBI hit for Saltalamacchia.
But Drew struck out and pinch-hitter Mike Carp made the third out with a grounder
Detroit starter Doug Fister left after the sixth and Boston pounced in the seventh with an Ellsbury single and RBI double from Shane Victorino with no outs, closing to 7-2.
But Victorino was stranded as Pedroia and Ortiz grounded out, and Napoli popped out to first.
Xander Boagerts began the ninth with a double off Joaquin Benoit. Ellsbury tripled him in.
If Victorino and Pedroia reached, Benoit would again face Ortiz with the bases loaded. But bot struck out and Ortiz flied out.
Boston’s bullpen put in a scoreless night from its secondary relievers. Workman gave up one hit and one walk over two innings. Ryan Dempster pitched a one-hit sixth. Franklin Morales allowed a single in the seventh. Felix Doubront had an eventful eighth: hit batter, double play, walk, single and strikeout.
After Game 5, the teams will take Friday off and play Game 6 Saturday at Fenway Park. Game 7, if necessary, would be Sunday.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @ClearTheBases