Offense can't overcome Wright's shaky start

Knuckleballer allows 8 runs; Ross also struggles vs. Tigers

Offense can't overcome Wright's shaky start

BOSTON -- The relentless Red Sox offense erased two substantial deficits on a hot and steamy Tuesday night at Fenway Park, and it still wasn't enough to prevent a 9-8 loss to the Tigers.

As impressive as manager John Farrell's lineup has been this season, the club might be asking it to do too much, too often.

All-Star knuckleballer Steven Wright has done the job many times this season, but Tuesday was not one of those occasions. The Tigers scored four runs through two innings, but the Boston bats -- fueled by a three-run homer from David Ortiz -- turned a 4-0 deficit into a 5-4 lead in the fourth.

Papi's three-run homer

Out came Wright for what proved a thoroughly frustrating fifth inning in which he walked the first two batters and gave up four runs.

"This is a tough loss for me because I feel like if you can get eight runs, you should get the team a win," said Wright, who allowed eight earned runs over 4 2/3 innings. "You can't keep asking the offense to score eight, nine runs every night. That's tough to do for any team."

If the Red Sox, -- who trail the Orioles by 2 1/2 games in the American League East -- are going to make a run for the postseason, they need more balance.

"You know, play the game and the situation that's in front of us. Sometimes it doesn't work in our favor," Farrell said. "Sometimes you find yourself in a hole and you've got to battle back, which we do. I think that's one of the traits of this lineup and offensive unit, is that we've got the capability of putting up multiple runs inside of a game, and that's been the case on more than a few occasions."

Down 8-5, the Red Sox roared back to tie it in the sixth with another three-spot.

Bogaerts' RBI fielder's choice

Reliever Robbie Ross Jr. looked ready to keep it tied when he retired the first two batters in the seventh. But things got sloppy. Justin Upton was hit by a pitch. After a single by Mike Aviles, Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked to load the bases. And on a 3-2 pitch, Ross walked No. 9 hitter Tyler Collins to force in what proved to be the deciding run.

"I got lazy with it," Ross said. "It was a slider. I just pulled it. It was just one ugly pitch."

The way the Red Sox can hit, there was a reasonable expectation that they would again come back. But Francisco Rodriguez buckled down for the save for the second straight night, making a huge pitch facing Ortiz to induce a double play.

K-Rod locks down 29th save

"That's a pretty good offensive club," said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. "Matter of fact, best offensive club in the American League. They're tough, and there's not many games that they're not in regardless of the score."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.