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Dustin Pedroia hit a tie-breaking two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to put the Boston Red Sox ahead for good en route to a 7-3 win over the Detroit Tigers.
The win Monday night to open the three-game series and a ten-game homestand put the Red Sox back over .500 (again). It was the team’s third straight win after taking two out of three against the New York Yankees.
Pedroia hit his ninth home run of the season into the Monster seats off Tigers starter Max Scherzer to break a 2-2 tie. The Red Sox second basemen also gave Boston a 2-1 lead in the first inning, driving in Carl Crawford on an RBI groundout.
Austin Jackson led off the game for Detroit with a bang, driving the second pitch from Clay Buchholz out of the park to give the Tigers an early 1-0 advantage. The Red Sox answered back nearly as quickly in the bottom frame, as Jacoby Ellsbury drew a leadoff walk and scored on Crawford’s triple off the Green Monster. The Tigers would tie the game on a triple by newcomer Omar Infante and an RBI single by slugger Miguel Cabrera.
After Pedroia’s go-ahead blast in the sixth, the Tigers climbed back within one the very next inning when Brennan Boesch reached on a strikeout after Kelly Shoppach dropped the ball, then struck Boesch in the back on his throw to first. This allowed Boesch to score two batters later on Alex Avilas’s double into the gap in right-center field.
But the Red Sox once again responded. Shoppach made up for his miscue by tripling into the centerfield triangle and scoring on an RBI single by Ellsbury to put the Red Sox up 5-3. Will Middlebrooks provided the final margin of scoring when he turned on an inside fastball from Tigers reliever Phil Coke for a two-run home run — his 13th of the season — off the light tower in left.
Seven runs of offense proved to be more than enough for the starter Buchholz, who went eight strong innings to get the win. After giving up the home run to Jackson to start the game, Buchholz scattered four hits the rest of the way, giving up just three runs (two earned) while striking out four. That is now three straight quality starts for Buchholz, going at least seven innings without allowing more than two earned runs in each.
In other news from the game, outfielder Ryan Sweeney had to leave in the ninth inning after punching a door in frustration following his groundout in the eighth. Yankee killer Pedro Ciriaco went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
The Red Sox and Tigers will square off again Tuesday night with first pitch set to be thrown at 7:10 p.m. Detroit ace Justin Verlander will face Josh Beckett, in what could be his last start in a Red Sox uniform if the trade rumors are true.