DETROIT -- Leading by a run with seven outs to go, the Red Sox pushed the self-destruct button, and with some help from the umpiring crew, handed the Detroit Tigers a 7-5 victory.
Torii Hunter drove a sacrifice fly to right center with no outs in the eight, snapping a 4-4 tie and Prince Fielder's two-run single to center gave the Tigers plenty of breathing room.
All three Tigers runs in the eighth were unearned. The Sox committed three errors, tying a season high.
The three-run eight began when Daniel Nava caught a fly ball by Avisail Garcia on the warning track, only to drop the ball as he transferred it to his throwing hand. But second base umpire Mike DiMuro ruled the ball hadn't been in Nava's possession.
That -- along with a throwing error by Andrew Miller -- paved the way for Detroit's big inning.
In the seventh, just when it seemed Miller was about to get out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam, he hit Jhonny Peralta on the leg, forcing in the tying run.
A passed ball by Ryan Lavarnway in the second gifted the Tigers their third run.
Jonny Gomes doubled home Dustin Pedroia in the ninth after everything had pretty much been decided.
Both starting pitchers -- Felix Doubront for the Red Sox, Justin Verlander for the Tigers -- were done after just five innings, chased by high pitch counts and early-inning troubles.
The Sox got a run-scoring single to center from Ryan Lavarnway and a sacrifice fly from Jacoby Ellsbury in the second.
Boston manufactured a run in the third, with Pedroia scoring on a fielder's choice. Ellsbury's double to right scored Lavarnway with the fourth Red Sox run in the fourth.
STAR OF THE GAME: Prince Fielder
Fielder, who has been relatively quiet in the the first three games of the series, had two hits and three RBI to lead the Tigers attack Sunday.
HONORABLE MENTION: Drew Smyly
After starter Justin Verlander was forced from the game after five innings, Smyly locked things down for the Tigers with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, buying the Detroit lineup time to rebound.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Boston bullpen.
Plenty of candidates for this honor, but we'll give it to the Red Sox relief corps, which allowed four runs in two innings. Neither Andrew Bailey nor Andrew Miller distinguished themselves and Alex Wilson didn't help either.
TURNING POINT: The ruling that Nava didn't have possession of a fly ball by Avisail Garcia -- a suspect ruling at that -- set up the whole three-run seventh for Detroit.
BY THE NUMBERS: The loss gave the Red Sox consecutive losing road series for the first time this season. Last week, they dropped three-of-four in Baltimore.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "Defensively, we made a number of miscues that led to four unearned runs, when we've typically been a very solid defensive team.'' -- John Farrell