DETROIT — Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera drove home two runs apiece Wednesday night in manager Jim Leyland’s revamped batting order, and the Detroit Tigers earned a 7-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox that squared the American League Championship Series at two games apiece.
A low-scoring stretch prompted Leyland to re-order his lineup, moving slumping leadoff man Jackson to eighth and elevating all of the players who normally bat behind him. Jackson finished with two singles and two walks.
Staked to a big early lead thanks to the Tigers’ five-run second inning, Doug Fister (1-0) got through six innings in which he allowed eight hits but only one run. He walked one and struck out seven.
Boston made Detroit fans nervous when the Tigers handed the game to their shaky bullpen in the seventh.
Jacoby Ellsbury greeted Phil Coke with a single and scored the Red Sox’s second run when Shane Victorino doubled off Al Alburquerque. Drew Smyly entered and recorded five outs.
Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit came in for the ninth but immediately gave up a double to Xander Bogaerts and a triple to Ellsbury, who collected his fourth consecutive hit. Benoit struck out the next two hitters and retired David Ortiz on a routine fly to right to finish the win.
Detroit’s new-look lineup paid almost immediate dividends.
In the second, a single plus two walks loaded the bases with no outs, and Jackson took four straight balls from Jake Peavy (0-1) to force in the first run. Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia didn’t field Jose Iglesias’ sharp potential double-play grounder cleanly, and Boston had to settle for a run-producing forceout.
Hunter, at the top of a lineup card for the first time since 2000, doubled down the left field line for two runs, and Cabrera looped an RBI single to center for a 5-0 lead.
Omar Infante doubled leading off the fourth and scored on a scratch single into short right field by Jackson, chasing Peavy.
Jackson stole second, was sacrificed to third and scored on Cabrera’s second RBI single to center, padding the lead to 7-0.
Peavy was charged with seven runs on five hits and three walks in three-plus innings.
Singles by Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the sixth inning produced Boston’s first run off Fister, who made it eight straight ALCS games in which Detroit pitchers did not allow a run in the first five innings.
NOTES: Cabrera stole a base, jogging to second in the fourth inning when Boston RHP Brandon Workman paid no attention to him. … LF Daniel Nava returned to Boston’s starting lineup after giving way to Jonny Gomes for two games. … Game 5 is scheduled to feature a rematch of Game 1 starters, Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez and Red Sox LHP Jon Lester. Detroit won the series opener 1-0. … Tigers starters worked 28 innings in the first three games of the series, allowing two runs. Red Sox starters logged 18 2/3 innings, giving up six runs. Detroit had a .225 batting average through three games, while the Red Sox were hitting .133.