Jake Peavy was visibly excited prior to the first pitch of his first league championship series start Wednesday night at Comerica Park, giving his Sox teammates chest bumps, high fives and impromptu pep talks. He may have been a bit too jacked as the Red Sox could never overcome his shaky start in a 7-3 loss to the Tigers in Game 4 of the ALCS in Detroit. The series is now tied, 2-2.
Peavy gave up a lead-off single to Victor Martinez to start the second inning and then walked the following two batters. After Jacoby Ellsbury made a pretty, diving catch in shallow center off the bat of Omar Infante to hold the runners, Peavy walked Austin Jackson to force home the first run of the game.
The run-thirsty Tigers did not let up on Peavy in the inning. Dustin Pedroia had trouble handling a Jose Iglesias grounder, that could have resulted in an inning-ending double-play, and Jhonny Peralta easily scored. Torii Hunter’s sharp grounder then got past the outstretched glove of third baseman Will Middlebrooks and ripped down the left field line to plate Alex Avila and Iglesias. Miguel Cabrera capped the big Detroit inning by dropping a ball into shallow center, driving in Hunter and giving the Tigers a resounding, 5-0 advantage.
Peavy would not last much longer as he was taken out in favor of Brandon Workman in the fourth. Two more runs would be charged to Peavy in the inning as Infante scored on an infield single and Cabrera drove in Jackson. Detroit led 7-0 after four.
The Boston offense struggled to keep pace with the Tigers as Stephen Drew struck out looking in the top of the second with a man at third, prompting many Sox fans on Twitter to call for the services of Xander Bogaerts to replace the struggling shortstop in the lineup. Bogaerts would double to right off Joaquin Benoit in the ninth as a pinch-hitter. He would score on a Jacoby Ellsbury triple.
The Red Sox also stranded a couple in the third as David Ortiz grounded out into Detroit’s shift.
Boston finally punched one home off Doug Fister in the sixth, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia driving in Mike Napoli on a single to center.
One way or another, the series will now be decided in Boston, with Game 5 Thursday in Detroit (8 p.m., FOX) and Game 6 and (if needed) Game 7 this weekend at Fenway.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS