Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - One team's offense broke out in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series and the other's stayed dormant despite a slew of scoring opportunities.
Detroit erupted for five runs in the second inning, knocked Jake Peavy out in the fourth and let Doug Fister and the bullpen do the rest as the Tigers evened the best-of-seven series against the Boston Red Sox with a convincing 7-3 victory at Comerica Park.
Jim Leyland shuffled Detroit's lineup after his club combined for six runs over the first three games of the ALCS, and the moves paid dividends.
Torii Hunter replaced Austin Jackson in the leadoff spot and contributed a two-run double, while Jackson, perhaps motivated by the demotion to the No. 8 spot in the order, went 2-for-2 with two walks, two RBI and a run scored.
Miguel Cabrera, batting second instead of third, also had two hits, knocked in a pair and even stole a base for the reigning AL champs, who saw Fister (1-0) scatter eight hits and a walk over six innings of one-run ball.
Leyland said he will use the same lineup for Game 5, though he did not take credit for the offensive turnaround.
"I think something had to be done (but)...this has nothing to do with Jim Leyland, this is about the players. They executed, they came out, they played well," the 68-year-old manager said.
The first LCS start for Peavy (0-1) was a forgettable one. The former Cy Young Award winner surrendered seven runs on five hits and three walks and was pulled without recording an out in the fourth.
"No excuse. It's on me," Peavy said of his rough start. "I can promise you this, we'll be back tomorrow as a ball club, as a unit."
Boston's bats woke up with 12 hits -- four from Jacoby Ellsbury -- but the Red Sox went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base.
Thursday's game will see Detroit's Anibal Sanchez square off against Boston ace Jon Lester once again. Sanchez, along with four relievers, came within two outs of notching the first combined no-hitter in postseason history in the series opener, which ended with the Tigers earning a tight 1-0 win.
In fact, the first three games in the series were all decided by one run, including Boston's 1-0 squeaker in Game 3.
The stretch of nail-biters ended Wednesday.
Peavy mowed down the new-look Tigers lineup in a 12-pitch first inning, but things changed dramatically when Detroit batted around in the second.
Victor Martinez started the surge with a single and Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila each worked walks to load the bases. Martinez failed to tag up when Ellsbury made a diving catch in shallow center field on Omar Infante's sinking liner, but trotted home when Peavy walked Jackson on four straight pitches. Jackson had been batting .091 in the postseason up to that point.
Jose Iglesias, who was involved in the three-team, seven-player trade that sent Peavy to Boston in July, beat out a potential inning-ending double play ball to push another run across, and Hunter followed with a double down the third-base line to knock in a pair.
Cabrera checked in with an RBI single to cap the Tigers' onslaught, then added another in the fourth after Jackson ended Peavy's night with a run-scoring hit that ate up Dustin Pedroia at second.
Fister did not have a single 1-2-3 inning but got crucial outs when he needed it. The right-hander worked around Mike Napoli's leadoff double in the second, grounded out David Ortiz to strand a pair in the third and survived Ellsbury's one-out double in the fifth when Cabrera barehanded Pedroia's slow roller to third and beat him by a half-step to end the inning.
"I think our whole team went out there with a sense of confidence and the fact that just said, 'Hey, we're going to play loose baseball like we always do and not get too hyped up or put pressure on ourselves,'" Fister said.
Boston finally pushed a run across in the sixth. Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit the third of three consecutive singles to plate Napoli, but Fister kept the damage to a minimum by striking out Stephen Drew and retiring pinch-hitter Mike Carp on a routine ground ball.
Shane Victorino tacked on an RBI double in the seventh, quieting a crowd that no doubt remembered the Tigers blowing a 5-0 lead in Game 2.
But Al Alburquerque and Drew Smyly retired the heart of Boston's order to get out of the seventh with a 7-2 cushion, and Smyly set down the side in order in the eighth.
Ellsbury capped his productive night with an RBI triple off the first-base bag in the ninth, but Joaquin Benoit stranded him on third to essentially make this a best-of-three series.
Boston struck out 10 times -- seven against Fister -- to snap the Tigers' streak of 11 or more punchouts in four straight games ... Cabrera has driven in a franchise-record 24 postseason runs ... Detroit's four starting pitchers -- Sanchez, Fister, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander -- have combined for a 1.00 ERA over 27 innings this series ... Peavy is 0-3 with a 10.31 ERA in four career postseason starts ... Boston's relievers did not allow a run over five innings, extending their stretch to 16 2/3 scoreless frames over the last five games ... Ellsbury set a club record with his fifth career game of three hits or more in the postseason.