DETROIT -- Torii Hunter's tiebreaking sacrifice fly to center field with the bases loaded in the eighth inning sparked the Detroit Tigers to a 7-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.
Hunter's sacrifice fly came against Alex Wilson, who then walked Miguel Cabrera intentionally to reload the bases. Prince Fielder greeted left-hander Craig Breslow with a sharp line single to center to drive in two more runs.
Avisail Garcia opened the eighth by reaching second on a controversial two-base error by right fielder Daniel Nava, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth when Shane Victorino's back stiffened. Nava went back to make a nice basket catch of Garcia's deep fly but dropped the ball in the transfer to his throwing hand.
Red Sox manager John Farrell argued and was thrown out of the game. Replays clearly showed a drop after the catch, but none of the umpires apparently saw it.
Reliever Andrew Miller's throw on Bryan Holaday's sacrifice bunt drew Mike Napoli off the bag at first base for an error and Austin Jackson walked to load the bases, bringing in Wilson. Miller (0-2) took the loss. All three eighth-inning runs were unearned.
Joaquin Benoit (2-0), the Tigers' new closer, came on to get the final out in the eighth and picked up the victory despite giving up an RBI double to Boston's Jonny Gomes with two out in the ninth.
The Tigers had tied the score 4-4 in the seventh when Miller hit Jhonny Peralta with an 0-2 pitch with the bases loaded and two out. Miller was brought in to face Fielder with two on and one out and gave up a single to right that loaded the bases. Miller struck out Victor Martinez on a nice 0-2 breaking ball in the dirt before coming inside too far on Peralta.
The shift of Andrew Bailey out of the closer's role by the Red Sox did not get off to a promising beginning. He came in for the seventh and gave up hits to two of the three batters he faced. A defensive blunder cost him, though.
Hunter hit a liner to second with Jackson on first, but Dustin Pedroia dropped the ball. It could have been turned into a double play, but the throw went to Napoli, whose foot was on the bag, negating the double play. Jackson was standing on the bag and getting the out on Hunter at first eliminated the possibility of a force.
Ryan Lavarnway walked leading off the fourth and went to third on Jacoby Ellsbury's long double to right center.
Victorino hit a high hopper to short that scored the run and gave Boston a 4-3 lead.
Boston had tied the score in the third off Detroit starter Justin Verlander, who had problems controlling his fastball.
Pedroia beat out a single to short and David Ortiz ripped a single to right to put runners at third and first. Napoli forced Ortiz at second while the tying run scored.
Detroit took a 3-2 lead in the second on a passed ball by Lavarnway with runners on second and third and two out. Rookie Bryan Holaday had singled with two out and gone to third on Jackson's double.
The Red Sox jumped on Verlander for two runs in the second as he began struggling with his fastball command.
Napoli singled, Stephen Drew walked with one out and Lavarnway grounded an RBI single up the middle. Ellsbury hit a sacrifice fly to center to create a 2-2 tie.
Red Sox starter Felix Doubront had control problems, too, but the Tigers' patience came and went. Jackson and Hunter walked on 3-2 pitches to begin the first and Cabrera unloaded a ground- rule RBI double to straightaway center that one-hopped into the vines and disappeared. The second run scored on Fielder's groundout to first.
NOTES: Detroit RHP Max Scherzer now holds the club record with 11 straight winning decisions from the start of a season. RHP George Mullin was 11-0 in 1909, but one of those victories came in a relief role. Scherzer is currently on a schedule that would allow him to pitch an inning in the All-Star game next month, with his last start before the game coming on Saturday. ... Boston LHP Franklin Morales experienced some soreness in his left chest area at the back end of his 2 1/3-inning outing at Detroit on Saturday night. "He didn't feel any drastic improvement," Farrell said, indicating a DL stint is possible. "We'll have him looked at Monday and make a roster decision at that time." ... Red Sox RHP Allen Webster remains in the Boston rotation "as of today," Farrell said. "I thought his three-pitch mix was better than his previous starts and his secondary pitches were much better. It may take some time (for Webster to develop)." Webster likely would be returned to Triple-A if RHP Clay Buchholz were ready to return, which he is not.