"Something's got to happen," said Ortiz. "Otherwise, we're going to be out of [contention] by July if something doesn't happen, and we're playing like this."
Playing against the best team in the American League, the Tigers, who improved to 27-12, the Red Sox (20-23) again couldn't generate the type of offense you need to beat a top contender.
While enduring a three-game sweep at home against the team they beat in last year's AL Championship Series, the Red Sox scored a total of three runs.
In the aftermath, Ortiz was having a hard time containing his ire.
"They came careful," said Ortiz. "They executed their plan -- 'Don't let Papi beat you.' We need offense, man. We need offense. We need offense. I can see that coming. Everyone just pitching around [me] and doing all kinds of [stuff]. What else can you do?"
In this one, Ortiz was walked twice in four plate appearances, the second of which was intentional.
But the remedy for a turnaround isn't as simple as saying the Red Sox need to start producing more at the plate. Instead, they will tell you that their needs to be improvement in each phase of the game.
"Winning ballgames will turn it around," said Jake Peavy, who took the loss. "I think everybody in this room, and our staff, will tell you we've got to get better on all sides of the ball. Pitching, playing better defense, and obviously swinging the bats a little bit better. Everybody has room for improvement. Nobody is pointing fingers. As a whole, we'll take responsibility for not playing our best, man for man, and obviously it showed."
Then there are the Tigers, humming along with the type of relentless precision that Boston played with nearly wire to wire in 2013.
"They're very good," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "There doesn't appear to be a weak link. Their bullpen pitched outstanding. Their defense, overall, played very well. Starting rotation was strong. As well as the top half of that lineup is swinging the bat right now, they're a very good team."
As well as the Tigers played this weekend, they weren't about to compare and contrast it with the events of last October.
"It's a totally different game than the postseason, not the same adrenaline," said Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter. "You play hard, but it's totally different, so you can't play into that. When the Red Sox get hot, they're going to win. And never forget that they're still the champs. They're the champs until somebody wins it this year."
The Red Sox just hope they can regain that type of momentum.
"Listen, everybody in here is frustrated," Peavy said. "We get frustrated when we lose. Detroit is as good a team as there is in baseball. You have to play flawless baseball to beat them. Obviously, we didn't do that in any game, and that's frustrating. We believe that we have the talent, and we're going to keep working. Tomorrow's a day off, and we can kind of get our breath back and get going against Toronto.
"There's still a lot of ball left to be played. There's nothing more than frustration. The biggest thing you have to do is channel that frustration in the right way, and work hard to come out of it."
Peavy went six innings, allowing 11 hits and five runs. He walked none and struck out two.
Anibal Sanchez earned the win in his comeback from a blister injury, throwing 80 pitches over five innings. The righty walked three and struck out three.
The Red Sox showed some promise early, as Grady Sizemore led off the second with a single to left, moved to second on a fielder's choice and scored on an RBI single by Xander Bogaerts.
From there, however, the offense was quieted.
"We need to score early," said Bogaerts. "The team that scores early has the advantage and becomes more confident and relaxed. We haven't been able to do that."
Right after the Red Sox scored, the Tigers rallied for three runs against Peavy, including a two-out, RBI single by Miguel Cabrera on a pitch out of the strike zone that he fisted into left to tie the game
"I felt like I made a really good pitch to Cabrera to try to save that run. The ball was bouncing their way, for sure," said Peavy.
And after Cabrera kept the rally alive, Victor Martinez unloaded for a two-run homer, making it 3-1. Detroit would lead for the rest of the night.
"This is tough," said Bogaerts. "It isn't a good feeling. We have to bounce back. We have an off-day tomorrow and have to come strong the next day."
The Red Sox did have an unusual fielding highlight to close out the seventh, as Martinez popped one near the stands, and catcher A.J. Pierzynski deflected it to third baseman Brock Holt, who snagged it with his bare hand for the out.
Overall though, it was a tough night and a lost weekend for the defending World Series champions.
"We've got to regroup," said Farrell. "We've got to be better in all phases. Toronto comes in here, and this is a team that's playing well. Collectively, we have to be better all the way around."