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In a rematch of last year’s American League Championship Series (ALCS), the Boston Red Sox avoided being swept by the Detroit Tigers with three runs in the top of the ninth inning. Boston prevailed 5-3 on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
After left fielder Brock Holt and second baseman Dustin Pedroia reached on a single and a walk, respectively, designated hitter David Ortiz unloaded on a slider from Tigers’ reliever Joba Chamberlain and sent it 422 feet into the right field stands to give the Red Sox the lead for good.
“It feels good [to hit a ball that far], not only in that situation, but in the situation that we’ve been facing,” Ortiz said after the game in an interview with ESPN’s Buster Olney on MLB.com. “You know, we haven’t been able to win a ballgame; I mean we’ve been struggling. To put us ahead in that situation, it’s pretty cool.”
Boston, who had lost its previous five games, got a stellar performance out of starter John Lackey. He went eight innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits, striking out five and picking up his seventh win of the season. Closer Koji Uehara recorded a perfect ninth for his 12th save.
The Red Sox got on the board first on a sacrifice fly by Pedroia in the third inning. The Tigers answered with one run in both the third and fourth. Shortstop Eugenio Suarez and cleanup hitter Victor Martinez knocked these runs in with RBI singles.
In the sixth, Boston first baseman Mike Napoli, who made his return from the disabled list, evened the game at two with a solo homer to right.
The Tigers jumped back on top in the seventh, when Suarez smacked another RBI single to left. Left fielder Rajai Davis, who came to bat with runners on the corners, grounded into an inning-ending double play, reports ESPN.
Both teams begin series on the road on Monday. The Red Sox visit the Baltimore Orioles, while the Tigers will be at the Chicago White Sox.