DETROIT — The loss came suddenly for the Red Sox in the bottom of the ninth on Thursday night. Victor Martinez drew a walk off Andrew Bailey and Jhonny Peralta homered.
What would have been a satisfying victory turned into a wrenching defeat in a span of nine pitches. It was the kind of loss that can linger for days in a clubhouse and lead to others.
“It’s the hangover effect,” veteran outfielder Jonny Gomes said. “You see it all the time. You need to nip that stuff in the bud, let it go 30 minutes after the game. Done. Come back the next day and it’s the new game.”
The antidote for the Sox on Friday night came at the plate in a 10-6 victory against the Tigers.
There was no ninth-inning drama after five Detroit pitchers were pounded for 17 hits. Shane Victorino was 4 for 5 with a home run and five RBIs.
Stephen Drew and Jose Iglesias added three hits each and combined to score five runs at the bottom of the order. Drew had a double and Iglesias a triple.
The offense was so potent that a still-shaky Jon Lester won despite allowing five runs over 5⅔ innings.
As Gomes said, that’s what good teams do, and as the midway point of the season approaches, the 45-31 Sox are indeed very good.
“Tonight was a good one for us, to come back and get that ‘W.’ You have to look at that,” Lester said. “The offense picked me up and that was huge, to score a bunch of runs.”
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who scored twice, has been on Red Sox teams in recent years that turned one rough night into a losing streak.
“In the past we allowed that to affect us a little bit. This year has definitely been a lot different,” he said. “With the guys brought in here, just the atmosphere all together. It’s fun to show up and talk baseball and play baseball.”
Detroit starter Doug Fister (6-5) came into the game with a 2.61 earned run average in his previous five starts. But he did not get out of the fourth inning.
Victorino started his big night with a home run in the first inning. Jacoby Ellsbury singled in the third inning, took third on a single by Victorino, and scored when Dustin Pedroia grounded out.
The Sox scored four runs in the fourth inning. Saltalamacchia, Drew, and Iglesias had singles with one out to load the bases. Ellsbury followed with a two-run double to right.
Victorino’s single to center drove in Iglesias and Ellsbury and the Sox had a 6-1 lead.
Victorino is the first Red Sox right fielder to have four hits and five RBIs in a game since Trot Nixon in 2000, also at Detroit. Victorino has missed 30 games because of assorted injuries but has been productive when healthy.
“It’s just a matter of the body feeling good,” Victorino said. “Going out there every night and going after it and staying after it. It’s one of those things; you try and stay confident.”
The Sox increased their lead to 7-5 in the sixth inning when Iglesias tripled down the line in right and scored on a single by Victorino.
It was the 11th extra-base hit in 31 games for Iglesias. He had 11 extra-base hits in 88 games for Triple A Pawtucket all last season. Iglesias has reached base safely in 24 consecutive games and has at least one hit in 20 of his last 21 games. He is hitting .431 with a 1.060 OPS.
Victorino drove in his fifth run in the eighth inning. Drew then scored on a wild pitch.
It was another rough night for Lester (7-4), who allowed nine hits.
Lester took a five-run lead into the fifth inning and appeared to be in control of the game. But that vanished quickly as he allowed four runs.
Andy Dirks led off with a home run to right field. Brayan Pena singled, as did Torii Hunter with one out. Miguel Cabrera followed with a home run to left-center field on the first pitch.
“Probably throw the best changeup I’ve ever thrown in my life to a guy that’s on a whole other playing field,” Lester said. “Wish he’d quit and go to a different league, maybe a league that’s especially for him.”
Cabrera was 4 for 4 and is hitting .368 with 20 home runs and 74 RBIs in 72 games. He is 10 of 16 against Lester in his career.
Lester finished the inning and got two outs in the sixth before manager John Farrell pulled him after 102 pitches.
Lester has struggled mightily in his last seven starts: He has a 7.30 earned run average and has allowed 56 hits and 21 walks over 40⅔ innings. Nine of those hits have been home runs.
“The main thing is a win. A win for him, and a win for us. He’s still a work in progress,” Farrell said.
Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, and Andrew Miller allowed one run on two hits over the final 3⅓ innings. New closer Koji Uehara wasn’t needed.
Farrell called it a “much-needed” win for his team.
“This group does an outstanding job of forgetting yesterday and going out and focusing on what we have to do today,” he said.