DETROIT -- David Ortiz received a retirement gift from the Tigers, then reminded them he's still working. His three-hit game included a two-run home run to put the Red Sox up for good -- though by inches at the end -- in a 3-2 win Saturday at Comerica Park.
Before the first pitch, which was delayed one hour and 20 minutes due to rain, the Tigers gave Ortiz a framed picture from the 2005 All-Star Game, then Ortiz created more memories with his 11th three-hit performance of the season. After a first-inning infield single against the shift and a third-inning line drive up the middle, he feasted on a hanging breaking ball from Detroit starter Daniel Norris (1-2) and sent it into the right-field seats for a 3-1 lead.
"Again, we did pretty well against the back end of a team's bullpen," Ausmus said, "but this time we came up a little short."
The Red Sox have won eight of their last nine, staying within a half-game of Toronto for the American League East lead. The Tigers remained seven games behind Cleveland in the AL Central and 3 1/2 games back of Baltimore for the first AL Wild Card spot with their 10th loss in 13 games.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Opportunity missed: The Red Sox led off the third inning with three straight singles before Mookie Betts grounded into a double play. Dustin Pedroia came in to score, putting the Sox up 1-0, but they couldn't capitalize on the bases-loaded situation with nobody out. Betts is 3-for-12 with the bases loaded this season.
Left-handed compliment: While McCann has had an up-and-down season as a hitter, he has consistently feasted on left-handed pitching. He also had faced Pomeranz before from their college days as SEC opponents. When Pomeranz missed catcher Bryan Holaday's location down and in on a third-inning fastball he left over the plate, McCann pounced, sending it deep to left for his 10th home run -- and his eighth off lefties.
Historic homer: Ortiz hit himself into history with his home run in the fifth. He tied the record for most homers (29) in a season by a player after turning 40. Raul Ibanez (2013) and Ted Williams (1960) also did it. That homer also made him the third player to have 1,500 RBIs in a Red Sox uniform. He also scored his 1,400th career run. He is the 95th player in baseball history to reach that plateau.
Upton barely misses game-tying homer: Upton came back from a three-game hiatus, having worked on his swing with Tigers hitting coach Wally Joyner, and nearly became a hero. After two strikeouts and a single, Upton fell into an 0-2 hole against Kimbrel before sending a drive to straightaway center that he thought was headed out. Instead, Bradley barely missed a highlight catch at the fence -- an unheard-of feat in the deep dimensions of Comerica Park -- before the ball fell for a double. More >
"Those guys are brothers to me. Those guys are family. So great to see them out there and what they said on the board is something that means a lot to me. And even not playing next year, I'm just going to keep it that way with them. Whenever they need me, I'll be there." -- Ortiz, on Cabrera and Victor Martinez in pregame ceremony honoring him
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox: The Red Sox are calling on Henry Owens to start in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. ET series finale after Eduardo Rodriguez was scratched due to hamstring tightness. Owens allowed at least two earned runs in each of his three starts with Boston this season. He went 2-1 with a 0.99 ERA in his past three starts at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Tigers:Justin Verlander, doomed to defeat by three solo home runs from Royals hitters on Tuesday, will try to beat the Red Sox for the second time this season Sunday.