DETROIT -- Austin Jackson did what good leadoff hitters are supposed to do, reaching base four times on two singles and two walks Wednesday. He just did it from the eighth spot in the batting order.
The Tigers' run-production problems date back to early September, but after the team managed just six total runs while losing two of the first three games of the American League Championship Series, Detroit manager Jim Leyland decided to rearrange his offense.
Jackson, Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera -- normally the first three hitters in the order -- drove home two runs apiece Wednesday night in the revamped batting order, and Detroit earned a 7-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox that squared the ALCS at two games apiece.
Leyland dropped Jackson to eighth and elevated the rest of his lineup one spot.
"I tried to figure it out where it wouldn't be drastic," Leyland said. "I didn't want it to be comical.
"I didn't disagree with people who said we needed to do something. I don't want to sound like this had anything to do with it. I thought about it long and hard. This is what I came up with.
"This (win) has nothing to do with Jim Leyland. This is about the players executing."
Staked to a big lead thanks to the Tigers' five-run second inning, Doug Fister (1-0) got through six innings in which he allowed eight hits but only one run. He walked one and struck out seven.
Boston made Detroit fans nervous when the Tigers handed the game to their shaky bullpen in the seventh.
Jacoby Ellsbury greeted Phil Coke with a single and scored the Red Sox's second run when Shane Victorino doubled off Al Alburquerque. Drew Smyly entered and recorded five outs.
Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit came in for the ninth but immediately gave up a double to Xander Bogaerts and a triple to Ellsbury, who collected his fourth consecutive hit. Benoit struck out the next two hitters and retired David Ortiz on a routine fly to right to finish the win.
Boston manager John Farrell said he would sleep on whether he might insert Bogaerts, a rookie, at third base Thursday night in Game 5 at Comerica Park.
"The left side of our infield, we've struggled to get production there," Farrell said. "That's something that's being considered that's for sure.
"One thing we've maintained is having a constant approach with our lineup and not creating further uncertainty."
Farrell needs only to look to the other dugout to see the impact of a lineup change.
In the second inning, a single plus two walks loaded the bases with no outs, and Jackson took four straight balls from Jake Peavy (0-1) to force in the first run. Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia didn't field Jose Iglesias' sharp potential double-play grounder cleanly, and Boston had to settle for a run-producing forceout.
Hunter, at the top of a lineup card for the first time since 2000, doubled down the left field line for two runs, and Cabrera looped an RBI single to center for a 5-0 lead.
"I thought he was crisp in the first inning," Farrell said of Peavy, who gave up seven runs in three innings. "In the second, it looked like he pitched a little too fine.
"He pitched behind in the count and uncharacteristically issued three walks. The big one was the double Torii Hunter hit down the left field line. And the ball Iglesias hit looked like it handcuffed (Pedroia) a little bit. It handcuffed him just enough that he couldn't turn the double play, and they put five on the board."
Omar Infante doubled leading off the fourth and scored on a scratch single into short right field by Jackson, chasing Peavy.
Jackson stole second, was sacrificed to third and scored on Cabrera's second RBI single to center, padding the lead to 7-0.
Singles by Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the sixth inning produced Boston's first run off Fister, who made it eight straight ALCS games in which Detroit pitchers did not allow a run in the first five innings.
Following Wednesday's success, Leyland will post the same batting order Thursday.
"I really think you have to," he said. "A lot of people contributed, and that was a good thing."
NOTES: Cabrera stole a base, jogging to second in the fourth inning when Boston RHP Brandon Workman paid no attention to him. ... LF Daniel Nava returned to Boston's starting lineup after giving way to Jonny Gomes for two games. Nava went 1-for-3 Wednesday, and Gomes popped out as a pinch hitter. ... Game 5 is scheduled to feature a rematch of Game 1 starters, Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez and Red Sox LHP Jon Lester. Detroit won the series opener 1-0. ... Tigers starters have worked 34 innings in the first four games of the series, allowing three runs (0.79 ERA). Red Sox starters logged 21 2/3 innings, giving up 13 runs (5.40 ERA).