Tigers - 102 000 100 - 4 12 0 Red Sox - 000 400 11x - 6 12 0Adrian Gonzalez's second ground-rule double of the night scored Daniel Nava, snapping a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning. Kevin Youkilis offered a bit of padding with an eighth-inning solo home run and Alfredo Aceves, appearing in his fourth straight game, picked up the save. Aceves has thrown 68 pitches in the last four games.
The Red Sox - 14-5 over their last 19 games - may still be in fifth place, but they are only 2.5 GB the Orioles.
Lester (6.2-10-4-0-7, 120) had a rough first three innings. He allowed three singles and a run in the first, and a double and triple and two runs in the third. But he found a groove, and kept the Tigers at bay while his mates took the lead in the fourth.
Smyly (6-8-4-0-4, 86) set down 10 of the first 11 Boston batters, but had trouble with the middle of the order the second time through. With two outs in the fourth, Gonzalez doubled to right-center and David Ortiz - after getting something out of his eye - homered (#11) to dead center. Youkilis singled and Will Middlebrooks smoked a line drive over the Wall in left for a two-run homer (#6), giving the Red Sox a 4-3 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Lester started to crumble. Alex Avila singled off the Wall and was called out trying for a double (replays on Fox Detroit showed Avila was safe). Gerald Laird followed with a hard-hit double to left-center. Bobby Valentine came out to the mound, but left Lester (at 116 pitches) in the game. It was a gamble, and it paid off, as Lester struck out Quintin Berry. Valentine then brought in Matt Albers. Andy Dirks reached on an infield single to third; Laird had to stay put at second. Miguel Cabrera (4-for-5, 3 doubles) lifted a pop-up down the right field line. Gonzalez tried to make a sliding basket catch near the foul line, but could not hold onto the ball, and Laird scored, tying the game at 4-4. After intentionally walking Prince Fielder to load the bases, Albers got a ground ball for the third out.
In the home half of the seventh, Kelly Shoppach and Nick Punto both struck out before Nava walked, Mike Aviles singled, and Gonzalez doubled, giving the Sox a 5-4 lead.
Drew Smyly / Jon Lester
Nava, LFCan the Red Sox raise their record to two games over .500? Gotta keep thinking big...
To do so, they have to beat "Guy" Smyly, who is in only his second professional season, having rocketed through A+, AA, and AAA last year. He got off to a fantastic start this year, but his last three starts - 12 runs in 14.2 innings - are more in line with a 22-year-old rookie finding his way through the league(s). Smyly, a lefty, has a very respectable 3.14 ERA and appears to be on a pitch limit of 90-100.
Also: Lars Anderson hit an absolute moon shot last night that sailed into Pawtucket's electronic video board in right-center, smashing several lights.