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ALCS Game 4: Detroit Tigers Shake Up Lineup, Even Series at 2-2 with 7-3 win over Boston Red Sox

The Detroit Tigers won game 4 of the 2013 ALCS against the Boston Red Sox with strong contributions from Miguel Cabrera, Torii Hunter, Austin Jackson and Doug Fister. The series is now tied at two games a piece.

ALCS Game 4 - Boston Red Sox vs. Detroit Tigers
ALCS Game 4 - Boston Red Sox vs. Detroit Tigers

Oct 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter (48) hits a 2 RBI double against the Boston Red Sox during the second inning in game four of the American League Championship Series baseball game at Comerica Park. Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Leyland is an old-school, player’s manager whose loyalty lies with his players and a strong belief that they will get the job done.

But with his team struggling mightily on offense and trailing the Boston Red Sox 2-1 in a best-of-seven American League Championship Series, the Detroit skipper had to shake things up.

“I was laying on my couch at home (Tuesday night), watching the Dodgers and Cardinals play,” Leyland said after Game 4 Wednesday at Detroit Comerica Park. “I didn’t disagree with anybody that something had to be done (with the lineup). I thought about it long and hard and this is what I came up with.

“But this wasn’t about Jim Leyland. It was about the players. They came and fought.”

Leyland moved center fielder Austin Jackson from the leadoff spot to the No. 8 slot and moved the rest of the lineup up by one batter. Torii Hunter batted leadoff for the first time since 1999 and slugger Miguel Cabrera batted in the No. 2 hole.

The maneuvers worked as Detroit busted out offensively with a five-run second inning off Boston starter Jake Peavy. The Tigers held on for the 7-3 victory to even the series at 2-2 heading into an 8 p.m. Thursday Game 5, in Detroit.

While Jackson batted eighth for the first time in his career, he found himself in a critical at-bat with the bases loaded and one out in the second inning. With a .091 batting average in the ALCS, Jackson drew a four-pitch walk to score clean-up hitter Victor Martinez for a 1-0 lead.

Jose Iglesias then hit a hard grounder at Dustin Pedroia for what looked like an inning-ending, Taylor-made double-play but the Red Sox two-time gold glove second baseman bobbled  the ball and only got the force out at second to allow Detroit a 2-0 lead.

Hunter then doubled down the left field line to score two runs and Cabrera singled home Hunter for a 5-0 lead after two innings.

Detroit tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth as Omar Infante led off with a ground-rule double and scored on a single from Jackson. Jackson, who went 2-for-2 at the plate with two walks, stole second base and scored on a Cabrera single to center field for a 7-0 lead.

“(The lineup change) stirs everything up and changes the mindset of a player,” Hunter told MLB Network after the game. “(Cabrera) said he felt weird but he felt he could get something going. We’ve seen Jake Peavy a lot (with the Chicago White Sox) and we were able to capitalize on a couple mistakes. For us to get seven runs, you can’t ask for anything more, especially after some of these great pitching performances.”

Jake Peavy allowed seven earned runs on five hits and three walks in three innings.

“He came out crisp in the first inning and in the second inning I thought he got a little too fine,” Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters after the game. “The three walks and they bunched some hits together with the biggest being Hunter’s down the line.

“(Iglesias) gets a hard hit ball and it handcuffed (Pedroia) a little. Then a base hit behind it and there’s five on the board.”

Doug Fister picked up the win for Detroit, allowing one run on eight hits with seven strikeouts and one walk.

“We had 12 hits tonight and left 10 men on base,” Farrell said. “In stretches like this, we’ve done a good job of creating opportunities and we did that tonight. But tip of the hat to the pitching we are facing. The two-out base hit and extra base hits with runners in scoring position are elusive.”

Boston scored single runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings but never found a way to get the tying run to the plate as Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit got David Ortiz to fly out to right field to end the game.

Thursday’s pitching matchup is a rematch from Game 1, where Tigers righty Anibal Sanchez  helped the Tigers to a 1-0 win over the Red Sox and Jon Lester. Sanchez and the Tigers bullpen didn’t allow a hit until the ninth inning.

The ALCS is guaranteed to head back to Boston, where Game 6 is tentatively scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday while the ‘if needed’ Game 7 slated for 8 p.m. Sunday.

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