Jon Lester outdueled and outlasted Max Scherzer, while Will Middlebrooks drove in the tying and winning runs, as the Boston Red Sox claimed a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers in the middle test of a three-game series.
Lester (13-8) scattered eight hits and one run, while notching a season high by fanning nine Detroit batters over seven full frames to earn his third win in four starts.
"We all knew who we were facing tonight and what he's done," Lester said of his opponent. "I have to worry about the other nine guys in the lineup."
Koji Uehara turned in a perfect ninth to earn his 17th save.
Scherzer (19-2) has been snakebitten ever since the Aug. 24 win which put him one away from a milestone, charged with 13 hits and seven earned runs over 12- plus innings in two starts since then. On Tuesday, he pitched into the eighth, allowing five hits and a pair of runs with three walks and eight strikeouts.
"Lester just outpitched me," the unlucky Scherzer admitted.
Jonny Gomes collected two hits and scored a run for the Red Sox, who rebounded from Monday's 3-0 loss to win for the eighth time in their last 10 games.
Jose Iglesias knocked in the only run for the Tigers, who have lost two of three after winning three in a row.
Scherzer held the hosts to one hit on 43 pitches through four innings, but Boston jumped ahead in the fifth.
Gomes singled with one out, Stephen Drew bounced a pitch into the bullpen and Middlebrooks singled both in with two down to give the Red Sox a 2-1 edge.
"You might get one good pitch to hit up there," said Middlebrooks. "When you get it, you can't miss it."
Lester stranded runners on first and second with one out in the sixth by fanning Matt Tuiasosopo and inducing a fly out from Brayan Pena, then completed his outing by retiring the side in order in the seventh.
Brandon Workman, Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa combined to hold Detroit off the board in the eighth, and the Sox chased Scherzer in the home half.
Daniel Nava worked a leadoff walk and Dustin Pedroia singled, bringing on Phil Coke, who retired David Ortiz on a liner before giving way to Luke Putkonen. Mike Napoli's base hit loaded the sacks, but Gomes popped out and Drew's grounder to second kept it a 2-1 game.
Uehara then fanned the final two he faced in his perfect final inning.
"I hung a slider in a bad spot, that's what cost us the game," Scherzer offered.
The Tigers got on the board in the second. Omar Infante singled with one down and Pena with two out, and while the former scored easily on a double to deep center from the former Sox infielder Iglesias, Pena was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
"With two out I have no problem with the move," Leyland said of third-base coach Tom Brookens electing to send his hefty catcher. "I think Tommy was a little mad at himself."
Detroit loaded the bases in the top of the fifth, but Miguel Cabrera grounded into an inning-ending fielder's choice grounder at second.
Uehara upped his string of consecutive scoreless innings to 25 and has not allowed an earned run in his last 28 1/3 frames pitched ... Scherzer, who was bidding to match Roger Clemens' 20-1 start to the 2001 season for the Yankees, lost for the first time since July 13, when Texas bested him by a 7-1 count ... Red Sox starters have given up three runs or fewer in 13 of the last 14 games ... Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury sat with a sore thumb ... Prior to the contest, the Tigers recalled pitchers Jose Alvarez, Jeremy Bonderman and catcher Bryan Holaday from Triple-A Toledo.