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Jim Leyland's lineup shake-up helps Tigers even ALCS

Detroit Tigers' Torii Hunter, right, congratulates Omar Infante

Detroit Tigers' Torii Hunter, right, congratulates Omar Infante after Infante scores in the fourth inning during Game 4 of the American League baseball championship series against the Boston Red Sox. (Oct.. 16, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

DETROIT - Jim Leyland used a phrase expected during tours of Colonial Williamsburg, not necessarily during a baseball news conference.

"Just a little something to, you know, churn up the butter a little bit," Leyland said of the changes he made to his lineup before Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox Wednesday night.

Then he added: "We had to do something."

The Tigers sure did, and the ALCS is even as a result. Leyland's changes provided the spark he hoped for as the Tigers rode a five-run second inning to a 7-3 victory in front of 42,765 noisy fans at Comerica Park.

"I thought about it long and hard and this is what we came up with,'' Leyland said. "But this has nothing to do with Jim Leyland. This was about the players. We're very fortunate and this series is tied. The only thing we know for sure is we're going back to Boston.

"I will go with this same lineup tomorrow for sure.''

Game 5 is Thursday night, a rematch of the Game 1 starters, with Boston's Jon Lester taking on Anibal Sanchez.

The Tigers hit .225 with a .295 OBP the first three games. They had totaled seven runs, five in Game 2, a 6-5 loss. It wasn't as if the Red Sox were churning out the runs, either. In the first three games they also scored seven runs, hitting .133 with a .228 OBP and 43 strikeouts.

"I mean, we scored one run and no runs in two of the games, it certainly can't hurt," Leyland said. "We're going to take a shot."

He dropped struggling Austin Jackson, 3-for-33 with 18 strikeouts this postseason, from leadoff to eighth. Jackson responded by going 2-for-2 with two walks and two RBIs.

"I was happy I was still in the lineup,'' Jackson said. "The goal was to get me relaxed, not to put too much pressure on myself. It worked out for the best.''

Leyland moved Torii Hunter from second to leadoff, his first time starting in that spot since 1999. Miguel Cabrera moved from third to second, the slugger's first time there since 2004; Prince Fielder hit third, and Victor Martinez cleanup. Cabrera had two hits and two RBIs, Martinez had two hits and Hunter added a two-run double.

All of the above except Fielder played roles in the second as the Tigers, sending nine to the plate, erupted against Jake Peavy.

Martinez singled to start Peavy's 31-pitch second, and back-to-back walks to Jhonny Peralta and Alex Avila loaded the bases. After Omar Infante failed to get the run in by flying out to short center, Jackson walked on four pitches to make it 1-0. After second baseman Dustin Pedroia couldn't cleanly handle Jose Iglesias' potential double-play grounder -- a force at second allowed a run to score -- Hunter's double down the third-base line made it 4-0. Cabrera then dumped a single to center to make it 5-0.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Peavy: "It looked like he was trying to be a little bit too fine in that second inning.''

The Tigers, who had nine hits compared with 12 for the Red Sox, made it 7-0 in the fourth. Infante led off with a double and Jackson delivered him with a dirt-hugging single off the glove of Pedroia. That ended Peavy's night, and Cabrera's single off Brandon Workman made it 7-0.

Doug Fister, while not nearly as sharp as the three Tigers starters preceding him, was good enough, allowing one run and eight hits in six innings. Three straight hits in the sixth by Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia gave the Red Sox their only run against Fister.

The Red Sox added a run in the seventh against Phil Coke to make it 7-2 and scored one against Joaquin Benoit in the ninth to make it 7-3. Boston went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10.


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