The Boston Red Sox hope to have outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury back in the lineup on Wednesday when they play the rubber match of a three- game series with the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park.
Ellsbury missed Tuesday's contest because of a sore left thumb, but Boston didn't miss him, as Jon Lester outdueled and outlasted Max Scherzer, while Will Middlebrooks drove in the tying and winning runs in the Red Sox' 2-1 triumph.
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 and was 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. Miguel Cabrera returned to the lineup after missing three games with abdominal pain, but was 0-for-4
Heading to the hill for the Red Sox on Wednesday will be righty Ryan Dempster, who picked up his first win since July 27 his last time out. Dempster beat the Chicago White Sox on Friday, holding them to three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 frames to run his record to 7-9 on the year to go along with a 4.75 ERA.
Dempster hasn't faced the Tigers since 2006 and they are one of two major league teams he has not defeated. The New York Yankees are the other.
Detroit, meanwhile, will counter with righty Rick Porcello, who has won seven of his last eight decisions. Porcello's latest win came on Friday against Cleveland, as he allowed two runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings to run his record to 11-7, while lowering his ERA to 4.44.
A win from Porcello on Wednesday would give Detroit five starters with at least 12 victories, something just three teams have boasted in the last 10 years (2011 Rangers, 2010 Rays, 2005 Cardinals).
Detroit has won four of six against the Red Sox this season, but has lost nine of 13 at Fenway since the start of 2010.