DETROIT – Even if the Boston Red Sox hadn’t been short-handed, this would have been a gratifying win.
Sandy Leon broke an eighth-inning tie with a two-run single Sunday, part of a four-run rally that lifted Boston to a 7-5 victory against the Detroit Tigers.
The Red Sox, depleted recently by injury and illness, rallied four times from one-run deficits.
“The one thing that hasn’t emerged was anyone talking about any excuses,” Manager John Farrell said. “We know what’s in front of us. We know how people feel. A number of guys aren’t 100 percent but there’s fight in this group.”
Jackie Bradley Jr. missed the game after hurting his right knee Saturday, but the Red Sox got Mookie Betts back after he had been sick. Hanley Ramirez was still out with an illness.
Xander Bogaerts hasn’t played since Wednesday – he’s on the bereavement list.
The Tigers led 4-3 in the eighth when Bruce Rondon (0-1) allowed a leadoff walk to Betts and a single by Chris Young. A throwing error on Young’s single by left fielder Justin Upton left runners at second and third. After an intentional walk, Kyle Ryan came in and walked pinch-hitter Brock Holt to force in the tying run.
Leon followed with a line single to center and Boston led, 6-4.
“We’ve just got to find someone that can pitch the seventh and eighth innings,” Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus said. “Justin Wilson was unavailable tonight – he’d be a guy you could pitch in the eighth inning, but he’d pitched two days in a row and we didn’t want to use him.”
Matt Barnes (1-0) got the win in relief. He came off the bereavement list before the game.
Craig Kimbrel allowed a run in the ninth but recovered for his second save of the season. He’s converted 21 straight chances.
The Red Sox led 7-4 when Kimbrel walked the first two Detroit hitters in the ninth. He then struck out Miguel Cabrera. Victor Martinez nearly tied it with a drive to right but it went foul, and he ended up settling for an RBI single.
Kimbrel then struck out Upton and Tyler Collins to end it.
Boston right-hander Rick Porcello allowed four runs – three earned – and 11 hits in six-plus innings against his former team. Porcello. the AL Cy Young Award winner, walked one and struck out eight.
Porcello looked briefly hobbled at one point when he brushed against Detroit third-base coach Dave Clark while going to back up the base.
“I just kind of landed awkwardly,” Porcello said. “I was watching the ball and didn’t see him. I heard him say something and then I tried to move, and I just kind of landed awkwardly. It scared me more than anything but I’m good to go.”
Porcello reached 1,000 strikeouts when he fanned Martinez in the first.