By NOAH TRISTER/AP Baseball Writer
DETROIT (AP) – Shane Victorino homered and hit three singles, driving in five runs to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 10-6 win over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer for Detroit, which nearly rallied from a 6-1 deficit but couldn’t come through against the Boston bullpen. Jon Lester (7-4) allowed five runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings, but he won for the first time in seven starts.
The Red Sox lost Thursday night in the ninth inning, but their bullpen held the Tigers to one run Friday.
Doug Fister (6-5) allowed six runs and 11 hits in 3 1-3 innings.
Andy Dirks also homered for Detroit, and Cabrera had four hits.
Both teams came into the game amid upheaval in the bullpen after Andrew Bailey gave up a game-winning homer to Detroit’s Jhonny Peralta on Thursday. The Tigers designated Jose Valverde for assignment Friday, and the Red Sox announced that Bailey would be given a break from closing.
Boston got through the last 3 1-3 innings Friday with Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow and Andrew Miller. Koji Uehara would likely have closed if the game had been tighter.
The Red Sox now lead Baltimore by two games in the AL East. Cleveland trimmed Detroit’s AL Central lead to three.
Fister didn’t strike out a single batter, and Boston found seemingly every hole on the diamond against him. The Red Sox led 2-1 before coming up with six straight hits off Fister in the fourth. Jacoby Ellsbury’s two-run double made it 4-1, and Victorino followed with a two-run single.
It was Victorino’s first four-hit game since 2011. He opened the scoring with a solo homer in the first, although the Tigers tied it in the second on Brayan Pena’s RBI single.
Dustin Pedroia’s run-scoring groundout in the third gave Boston a 2-1 lead, and the Red Sox scored four more the following inning.
Detroit answered with four in the fifth. Dirks hit a solo shot, and Cabrera’s 20th homer of the year made it 6-5 and upped his RBI total to 74.
Jose Iglesias tripled in the sixth and scored on a single by Victorino.
On Cabrera’s third hit – a clean single to right in the seventh – Victorino tried to throw him out at first from the outfield. Cabrera beat the throw and appeared to laugh and yell something in Victorino’s direction.
Victorino nearly had a fifth hit in the eighth. With the bases loaded and one out, Peralta fielded his slow chopper and tried unsuccessfully to get a force at home. Boston took an 8-5 lead on the play, but it was ruled a fielder’s choice and not a hit.
That was the first of two close plays at the plate that went Boston’s way in the eighth. The second came when Al Alburquerque threw a wild pitch and came home to cover the plate. Pena retrieved the ball, but Stephen Drew appeared to get his arm under Alburquerque’s tag attempt, and the Red Sox took a 9-5 lead.
Boston added a run in the ninth thanks to an error by center fielder Avisail Garcia, which allowed Drew to score from first on a single by Iglesias.
Miller pitched the ninth for Boston, his first appearance at Comerica Park since he was traded from Detroit to Florida after the 2007 season as part of the deal that brought Cabrera to the Tigers. He gave up a single to Cabrera and an RBI grounder by Prince Fielder.
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