Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine knew Adrian Gonzalez would get one more at-bat if he left him in the outfield a little longer.
He did, and it turned out to be the right choice.
Gonzalez, playing right in Boston's injury-riddled outfield, drove in the tiebreaking run to help lift the Red Sox to their 14th win in 19 games, a 6-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night.
"Keep him in, let him stay in, have (Kevin) Youkilis go to third (from first), I don't know," Valentine said, smiling when asked what his plan usually is to get the slow-footed Gonzalez out of the outfield.
Valentine said at one point he was talking with bench coach Tom Bogar about lifting Gonzalez in the sixth, but then said, "No, he's going to come up again."
Boston currently has six outfielders on the disabled list.
David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks each hit two-run homers, and Youkilis had a solo shot for Boston.
Gonzalez had a pair of doubles for Boston, his second coming after he had a ball bounce out of his glove for the tying hit.
"We joke around and say, 'Who's going to play the Little League game and get the six-inning pull?" said Gonzalez, mostly a first baseman.
Miguel Cabrera went 4 for 5 with three doubles and drove in a run for Detroit, which has dropped the first three of a four-game series in Fenway Park.
The Red Sox can close out the sweep Thursday night when Josh Beckett faces Tigers righty Max Scherzer.
Matt Albers (1-0) gave up a tying hit, but retired one batter to get the win. Alfredo Aceves collected his 13th save in 16 chances, working for the fourth straight day.
With the Tigers trailing 4-3 in the seventh, Jon Lester was pulled after he fanned the final batter he faced — Quintin Berry — and Albers entered with a runner on second. Danny Worth reached on an infield hit before Cabrera looped one down the right field line that bounced off Gonzalez's glove as he attempted a sliding catch near the short wall, tying the game.
But Gonzalez's ground-rule double moved Boston back in front 5-4 in the bottom of the inning. Daniel Nava drew a two-out walk and Mike Aviles singled off reliever Octavio Dotel (1-2).
"After we tied it up, we got two real quick outs in that inning then they end up getting that run," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "That's tough."
The Tigers had built a 3-0 lead against Lester with a run in the first and two in the third before Boston rallied with four after two outs in the fourth against starter Drew Smyly.
"We knew the second time around what he had already," Middlebrooks said. "He showed us what he had so the second time around we knew what to expect."
The Red Sox entered the game leading the majors with homers (24) and extra base hits (61) against left-handed pitching. After being held to just an infield single, they added to those numbers with their big fourth.
After Smyly got the first two batters on a fly to the track in center and a strikeout, Boston collected five consecutive hits — highlighted by the two-run homers by Ortiz and Middlebrooks. Ortiz hit a shot into the center field bleachers — his 12th of the season — and Middlebrooks had a line drive into the first row of the seats above the Green Monster.
"You definitely want to keep it in the yard," Smyly said. "Just (the) two-run home runs, it's hard to win like that."
Lester gave up four runs, 10 hits, struck out seven and didn't walk anyone over 6 2-3 innings.
"We just haven't been able to get that big crusher hit," Leyland said. "We had some really good at-bats against Lester."
Smyly allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings.
Lester, coming off his second-worst start of the season when he lasted only four innings and gave up seven runs in a loss to Tampa Bay last Friday, gave up three straight singles to load the bases before Delmon Young's run-scoring grounder made it 1-0.
Worth had a sacrifice fly and Prince Fielder a run-scoring grounder to make it 3-0 in the third.
NOTES: The Tigers placed RHP Doug Fister on the 15-day DL before the game with and will promoted 23-year old lefty Casey Crosby from Triple-A Toledo to make his first major league start at home against the Yankees on Friday. ... Detroit purchased the contract of C Omir Santos from Toledo on Wednesday after they optioned INF-OF Ryan Raburn back to Toledo following Tuesday's game. ... Valentine said OF Darnell McDonald, on the 15-day DL with a strained right oblique, would stay with the club for a few days until he felt better. He had played with Triple-A Pawtucket in three rehab appearances. ... A big cheer went up when highlights of the Celtics-Heat Eastern Conference final was shown on the center-field scoreboard.