BOSTON – Pinch-runner Darnell McDonald scampered home when Marco Scutaro's bunt was thrown away by pitcher Robbie Weinhardt, and the Boston Red Sox won in their last at-bat for the second straight game, beating the Detroit Tigers 4-3 on Sunday.
After Clay Buchholz outpitched Tigers ace Justin Verlander in a matchup of All-Stars, Jonathan Papelbon (4-4) earned the victory despite giving up Miguel Cabrera's two-run double and a game-tying single by Jhonny Peralta in the ninth.
Brad Thomas (4-1) took the loss, allowing an unearned run on two hits and a walk in one inning plus two batters. He pitched a scoreless eighth, then gave up Jed Lowrie's single to lead off the ninth and walked Eric Patterson before Weinhardt came on to relieve him.
Scutaro laid down a bunt to the third-base side; Weinhardt fielded it, but his throw to first was far wide to the infield side of the bag and Cabrera couldn't reach it. Scutaro, who was credited with a single, raised his hands when he saw the ball roll up the line in front of him, and for the second game in a row the Red Sox were celebrating a victory in their last at-bat.
David Ortiz hit a game-ending, three-run double on Saturday; in both games the Tigers were without closer Jose Valverde, who threw 60 pitches on Friday night in a game Detroit had led 6-1.
On Sunday, the Red Sox were coasting behind Buchholz, who took a two-hit shutout into the ninth — only one baserunner had even reached second base — before Will Rhymes led off the inning with a bad-hop single. Ryan Raburn worked an eight-pitch walk to bring up Cabrera, and he lined Papelbon's first pitch off the center-field wall, about 3 feet from the top and just to the right of the 379-foot marker.
Rhymes and Raburn scored, then pinch-runner Don Kelly scored when Peralta singled one out later.
Buchholz was charged with two runs on three hits and four walks. He struck out five in eight-plus innings.
Adrian Beltre had a pair of hits for Boston, which has won seven of 10.
Boston made it 1-0 on an RBI single by Patterson in the second, then took a 3-0 lead in the third when Beltre hit an RBI single and recent call-up Ryan Kalish added a sacrifice fly.
Verlander allowed three runs on six hits and three walks, striking out eight while throwing 123 pitches over seven innings. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in six consecutive starts.
NOTES: Ex-Red Sox star Johnny Damon missed the entire series for Detroit with back pain. ... Verlander's previous appearance was a 3-2 complete-game loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday. ... Scutaro reached with a single in the first inning when shortstop Ramon Santiago lost his popup in the sun. ... Cabrera has 32 RBIs in his last 31 games. ... Papelbon blew his fifth save chance of the season.