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Victorino homers, drives in five to lift Red Sox over Tigers

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Associated Press
6/21/2013 10:47:32 PM
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DETROIT -- Shane Victorino was already having quite a night at the plate when he became a bit greedy in right field.

He picked up Miguel Cabrera's clean single and tried to throw the Detroit slugger out at first. Cabrera made it to the bag in time -- but on this night, it seemed Victorino was capable of anything.

"He looked at me. I said, 'Yeah, you better run,"' Victorino said. "We have kind of like a friendship, a camaraderie. He's a great player."

Victorino upstaged Cabrera a bit Friday night, hitting a homer and three singles to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 10-6 win over the Tigers. Victorino matched a career high with five RBIs.

"I didn't even know what my career high was," Victorino said. "It's great. Any time you get four hits and five RBIs -- for a guy like me -- you always get excited for it."

Cabrera hit a three-run homer for Detroit, which nearly rallied from a 6-1 deficit but couldn't come through against the Boston bullpen. Jon Lester (7-4) allowed five runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings, but he won for the first time in seven starts.

The Red Sox lost Thursday night in the ninth inning, but their bullpen held the Tigers to one run Friday.

Doug Fister (6-5) allowed six runs and 11 hits in 3 1-3 innings.

"Doug wasn't at his sharpest, but he didn't get any luck, either," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "I'm not making any excuses for him, but when they hit the ball hard, and they did hit some hard, they got a hit, and when they didn't hit the ball hard, they still got a hit."

Andy Dirks also homered for Detroit, and Cabrera had four hits.

Both teams came into the game amid upheaval in the bullpen after Andrew Bailey gave up a game-winning homer to Detroit's Jhonny Peralta on Thursday. The Tigers designated Jose Valverde for assignment Friday, and the Red Sox are giving Bailey a break from closing.

Boston got through the last 3 1-3 innings Friday with Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow and Andrew Miller. Koji Uehara would likely have closed if the game had been tighter.

The Red Sox now lead Baltimore by two games atop the AL East. Cleveland trimmed Detroit's AL Central lead to three.

Fister didn't strike out a single batter, and Boston found seemingly every hole on the diamond against him. The Red Sox led 2-1 before coming up with six straight hits off Fister in the fourth. Jacoby Ellsbury's two-run double made it 4-1, and Victorino followed with a two-run single.

It was Victorino's first four-hit game since 2011. He opened the scoring with a solo homer in the first, although the Tigers tied it in the second on Brayan Pena's RBI single.

Dustin Pedroia's run-scoring groundout in the third gave Boston a 2-1 lead, and the Red Sox scored four more the following inning.

Detroit answered with four in the fifth. Dirks hit a solo shot, and Cabrera's 20th homer of the year made it 6-5 and upped his RBI total to 74.

"Probably throw the best changeup I've ever thrown in my life to a guy that's just on a whole other playing field," Lester said. "Wish he'd quit and go to a different league -- make a league especially for him, I guess. I thought at first it was off the end, and apparently not."

Jose Iglesias tripled in the sixth and scored on a single by Victorino.

On Cabrera's third hit -- a single to right in the seventh -- Victorino tried to throw him out at first from the outfield. Cabrera beat the throw and appeared to laugh and yell something in Victorino's direction.

Victorino nearly had a fifth hit in the eighth. With the bases loaded and one out, Peralta fielded his slow chopper and tried unsuccessfully to get a force at home. Boston took an 8-5 lead on the play, but it was ruled a fielder's choice and not a hit.

That was the first of two close plays at the plate that went Boston's way in the eighth. The second came when Al Alburquerque threw a wild pitch and came home to cover the plate. Pena retrieved the ball, but Stephen Drew appeared to get his arm under Alburquerque's tag attempt, and the Red Sox took a 9-5 lead.

Boston added a run in the ninth thanks to an error by centre fielder Avisail Garcia, which allowed Drew to score from first on a single by Iglesias.

Miller pitched the ninth for Boston, his first appearance at Comerica Park since he was traded from Detroit to Florida after the 2007 season as part of the deal that brought Cabrera to the Tigers. He gave up a single to Cabrera and an RBI grounder by Prince Fielder.

NOTES: Boston signed C Jon Denney, their third-round draft pick this year. The Red Sox also agreed to terms with four other draft picks: LHPs Corey Littrell, Jake Drehoff and Gabe Speier and OF Jordon Austin. ... Detroit agreed to terms with two draft picks: LHP Kevin Ziomek and RHP Austin Kubitza. The Tigers also agreed to terms with C Chris Taladay, an undrafted free agent. ... Boston RHP Allen Webster (0-1) faces Detroit RHP Max Scherzer (10-0) on Saturday night.

Shane Victorino (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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