DETROIT (AP) - An untimely bobble by Dustin Pedroia and a pair of four-pitch walks from Jake Peavy cost the Boston Red Sox a chance to take control of the AL championship series.
Detroit scored five runs off Peavy in the pivotal second after Pedroia fumbled away his opportunity at an inning-ending double play, and the Tigers beat Boston 7-3 Wednesday night to tie the best-of-seven playoff at two games apiece.
Peavy picked a bad time to have his worst performance of the year. Acquired in late July as part of a three-team trade that included the Tigers, the right-hander allowed a season-high seven runs in three-plus innings.
He didn't get much help from Pedroia during Detroit's big rally.
Boston's normally sure-handed second baseman booted a grounder that could have been converted into a critical double play. Instead of holding the Tigers to one run in the inning, the Red Sox had to settle for a force at second and Detroit took advantage by scoring four more runs.
Peavy gave up five hits in his shortest start since June 4, when he was still with the Chicago White Sox. The Tigers helped Boston acquire Peavy in a three-team deal less than three months ago that netted Detroit rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias.
Victor Martinez hit a leadoff single in the second off Peavy, making his first appearance in a league championship series game. Peavy walked Jhonny Peralta on four pitches and gave Alex Avila a free pass in an eight-pitch at-bat to load the bases.
After getting Omar Infante to pop up, Peavy walked in the game's first run when he failed to throw one strike to a slumping hitter.
Austin Jackson, who entered batting .091 in the postseason, didn't have to swing during a four-pitch walk that made it 1-0. It was just the second time in Peavy's 13-year career that he gave up a pair four-pitch passes in one inning, excluding intentional walks, according to STATS.
But if Pedroia hadn't botched a grounder moments later, the Red Sox would've gotten out of the inning trailing by only a run.
Iglesias hit a bouncer to second, and it appeared the inning would be over. Pedroia, however, couldn't field the ball cleanly and was relegated to making a short throw to second - where Boston caught a break because shortstop Stephen Drew was off the bag when he took the toss.
Still, the runner was called out. Iglesias beat Drew's relay to first as Peralta scored.
Torii Hunter followed with a two-run double, and Miguel Cabrera's RBI single gave the Tigers a five-run cushion in a game they needed to win to avoid being on the brink of elimination in Game 5.
Boston banged out 12 hits but went 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 overall. After overcoming a five-run deficit with the help of David Ortiz's tying grand slam in Game 2 at Fenway Park, the Red Sox were unable to rally this time.
The Red Sox plan to start left-hander Jon Lester and Detroit is expected to put righty Anibal Sanchez on the mound Thursday night at Comerica Park before the series shifts back to Boston for at least one more game.