DETROIT, Michigan // Austin Jackson was dropped from first to eighth in the batting order, and suddenly the Boston Red Sox couldn’t get him out.
A revitalized Jackson delivered in manager Jim Leyland’s revamped lineup as the Detroit Tigers built a big lead and held on this time, beating the Red Sox 7-3 Wednesday night to even the AL championship series 2-all.
Torii Hunter had a two-run double and Miguel Cabrera drove in two runs after Leyland dropped the slumping Jackson to eighth in the order and moved almost everyone else up a place following the Tigers’ 1-0 loss in Game 3. Jackson drew a bases-loaded walk off Jake Peavy for the first run of Detroit’s five-run second inning.
“I think it just helped me relax,” Jackson said. “That was the goal. To get me to relax a little, be patient get a good pitch and let the rest take care of itself.”
Doug Fister allowed a run in six innings, and after blowing a 5-0 lead in Game 2, Detroit kept the Red Sox at bay Wednesday.
Game 5 is Thursday night in Detroit. The Tigers’ Anibal Sanchez faces Boston’s Jon Lester in a rematch of Game 1, which was won by Detroit 1-0.
Jackson finished with two singles and two walks. Jacoby Ellsbury had four hits for the Red Sox, finishing a homer shy of the cycle.
The Tigers lost Games 2 and 3, wasting gems by Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Jackson was 3 for 33 with 18 strikeouts in the post-season before Wednesday, and although Leyland left him in the lineup, he changed the batting order. Jackson hit eighth, and with others moving up a spot, it made for an odd-looking order. Hunter hit leadoff for the first time since 1999 and Cabrera was second for only the third time in his career – first since 2004.
“That was pretty good. He switched things up, kinda shake it up a little bit,” Hunter said. “It gave us a different mindset. Miggy hitting second, me leading off. It gave us a different mindset to make things happen.”
In Los Angeles, Adrian Gonzalez homered twice and Zack Greinke came through with the clutch performance the Dodgers needed in a 6-4 victory over the Cardinals that trimmed St Louis’ lead to 3-2 in the best-of-seven play-off.
“Guys weren’t ready to lose today,” said Carl Crawford, who also went deep to help the Dodgers save their season.
The series shifts back to St Louis for Game 6 on Friday night, with ace Clayton Kershaw scheduled to start for Los Angeles against rookie Michael Wacha.
When those two squared off in Game 2, the Cardinals won 1-0 on an unearned run.
“We’ve kind of become America’s team because everyone wants to see a seventh game,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Probably even the fans in St Louis would like to see a seventh game, so I figure that everybody’s for us to win on Friday night.”
The Cardinals also led last year’s NLCS 3-1 before losing three straight games to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
“We’re looking to do the same thing,” Gonzalez said.