BOSTON -- With four ex-Red Sox in the Tigers' starting lineup on Tuesday night, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that the visitors looked so comfortable coming up on the winning end of a 9-8 slugfest at Fenway Park.
Jose Iglesias (2-for-4, two runs, RBI), Victor Martinez (hit, RBI), Mike Aviles (2-for-5, run) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (3-for-4, two RBIs) all contributed to the win, the second in as many nights for Detroit. It was Saltalamacchia's first game played in Boston since Game 2 of the 2013 World Series.
"It feels good to be here," Saltalamacchia said. "I'm not going to say getting three hits here is a 'right back at you' type of thing. I loved my time here. I enjoyed every minute of it. It's more the win than anything."
Knuckleballer Steven Wright, on the other hand, didn't look comfortable from the first inning, when he allowed Miguel Cabrera's opposite-field two-run homer. In his most disappointing start of the season, the righty allowed nine hits and eight runs over 4 2/3 innings.
Mike Pelfrey didn't fare much better for Detroit, giving up six hits and five runs over five innings. Neither starting pitcher factored in the decision.
The Red Sox came back from a 4-0 deficit to take a 5-4 lead and rallied to tie after trailing 8-5. But the Tigers went ahead for good when Robbie Ross Jr. walked No. 9 hitter Tyler Collins with the bases loaded in the seventh.
"The truth is they counterpunched us," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "We got up to a 4-0 lead, they got themselves back into the game and then even took the lead. We hung in there, continued to tack on, up 8-5. Certainly not happy with a four-run lead and then we lose it. But ultimately we scored one more and got the win."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Papi mauls one: Down 4-0 in the third, David Ortiz got the Red Sox right back into the game with one swing, unloading for a three-run homer off the back wall of the visitor's bullpen. It was Ortiz's 25th homer of the season and 528th of his career. Jackie Bradley Jr. also homered for the Red Sox, connecting on a solo shot in the sixth inning.
This is the 12th season Ortiz has hit at least 25 homers, the second-most in Red Sox history behind Ted Williams.
Small ball reclaims lead: Wright began the fifth inning by allowing back-to-back walks and an RBI single to Martinez to tie the game at 5. After another line drive from Nick Castellanos, the bases were loaded with nobody out for Justin Upton. The left fielder hit a line drive that bounced off first baseman Hanley Ramirez's glove to score the go-ahead run. Saltalamacchia added an RBI single to open the Tigers' lead to 8-5.
Two straight saves: Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez appeared for his second straight save situation after retiring four consecutive batters in Monday night's win. He induced a groundout from Dustin Pedroia, allowed a single to Xander Bogaerts and forced Ortiz into a double play for the save. It was his 899th career appearance, tying Sparky Lyle for 25th most on the Major League all-time appearances list. Rodriguez has converted 29 of 30 opportunities this season for a 97-percent success rate.
"There's never a comfortable spot when you're a closer. But he's a savvy pitcher and has one of the better changeups I've ever come across. I'm very comfortable with him in a save situation," Ausmus said.
Ross loses control: It seemed Ross would preserve an 8-8 tie when he retired the first two batters in the seventh. But the lefty lost it from there. He hit Upton with a pitch, gave up a single to Aviles and walked Saltalamacchia. That set up the walk to Collins that drove in the decisive final run of the game.
"I just couldn't command the zone right at the end. I was battling to find the strike zone," Ross said. "I felt good. It was surprising, actually. It was the feeling of, 'OK, I'm right here. This is a make-or-break kind of thing. Let's try and get out of it.' Then it was like, ball here, ball here, ball here. And I felt myself every now and then pulling off the ball instead of staying through it."
"It's nice to know that we've won two out of three, but I'd like to get a little greedy and win three out of three." -- Ausmus
WHAT'S NEXT Tigers: Right-hander Michael Fulmer (9-2, 2.41 ERA) looks to deliver a three-game sweep Wednesday (1:35 p.m. ET) when he makes his first career start at Fenway Park. The rookie will look to bounce back from a rough outing against the White Sox in which he gave up four earned runs through five innings.
Red Sox: Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (2-4, 6.70 ERA) will try to continue his recent momentum Wednesday afternoon. He has allowed three earned runs over 12 1/3 innings since his return from Triple-A.