x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Detroit draw even, Los Angeles stay alive in MLB play-offs

Austin Jackson responded well to being dropped in the batting order and LA staved off elimination behind Zack Greinke on Wednesday night.

Detroit outfielder Austin Jackson reached base four times on Wednesday after being dropped in the batting order. Charlie Riedel / AP
Detroit outfielder Austin Jackson reached base four times on Wednesday after being dropped in the batting order. Charlie Riedel / AP

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.