By Sean McAdam
BOSTON -- After blowing a two-run lead in the eighth inning, the Red Sox roared back with a walkoff victory in the bottom of the ninth when Carl Crawford singled over the head of center fielder Austin Jackson, scoring pinch-runner Darnell McDonald for a 4-3 win.
It was Crawford's third walkoff hit this month.
The win was Boston's sixth in a row overall and third straight in its final at-bat. The Sox had a walkoff win in the bottom of the ninth Monday, went ahead for good in the bottom of the eighth Wednesday, and added another last at-bat game-winner Thursday night.
Also for the second game in a row, Jonathan Papelbon had to bail himself out of a ninth-inning jam. Thursday, he struck out Brennan Boesch and Miguel Cabrera with the bases loaded.
Josh Beckett, who entered the game with the lowest ERA of any American League starter, limited the Tigers to a single run but left after six innings and 83 pitches with what the team announced was a stiff neck.
Daniel Bard came on in the eighth, and in the span of five pitches, coughed up the two-run lead intrusted to him.
First, Brennan Boesch pulled one past the right field foul pole to bring the Tigers to within a run, then Miguel Cabrera drilled a pitch into the Monster Seats to knot the score at 3-3.
The Sox had used solo homers from J.D. Drew (in the fourth) and David Ortiz (leading off the seventh) off Verlander to take a 3-1 lead.
The teams traded runs in the second, with Andy Dirks singling home Cabrera for the Tigers and the Red Sox countering with a sacrifice fly from Drew.
Player of the Game: Carl Crawford
Crawford may not have many hits this season, but he's making them count -- especially in May.
Crawford's line-drive single over the head of center fielder Austin Jackson scored pinch-runner Danrell McDonald from third base with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
That marked the third game-winning walkoff hit for Crawford this month.
Honorable Mention: Josh Beckett
Beckett has become the tough-luck pitcher in the Red Sox rotation. He limited the Tigers to a single run over six innings before leaving with a stiff neck.
Beckett was in line for the win until the Sox bullpen blew a two-run lead with six outs to go. That marked the fourth time this year that Beckett has allowed two runs or fewer and gotten a no-decision.
The Goat: Daniel Bard
Yes, the Sox rebounded to win, but Bard made the task tougher.
In the span of five pitches, Bard gave up two solo homers to the first two hitters he faced in the eighth, blowing a 3-1 lead.
Turning Point: Papelbon's strikeouts
After loading the bases with one out, Jonathan Papelbon struck out Brennan Boesch and Miguel Cabrera to preserve the 3-3 tie and set the stage for bottom-of-the-ninth heroics.
By the Numbers: 4-6
Justin Verlander has turned in a quality start in all 10 of his outings this season, but the Tigers are just 4-6 in those 10 games.
Quote of Note:
"I think we're glad we're playing at home. You know how we feel in games like this on the road -- you make a mistake, you go home (a loser).'' -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona