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(Sunday, April 8th)
Final Score: Detroit 13, Boston 12 (11 innings)
Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Alex Avila laced a game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the 11th inning, and the Detroit Tigers edged the Boston Red Sox in a back-and-forth offensive slugfest, 13-12, to sweep the opening series of the season.
Miguel Cabrera had three hits, including the game-tying three-run home run in the home half of the ninth inning to send the contest into extra frames, to go with five RBI and three runs scored for Detroit, which trailed 12-10 heading into the bottom of the 11th.
"We have the capability of scoring three, four, five runs in an inning really quickly," Avila said. "We never feel like we're out of a game."
Duane Below (2-0) picked up the win by striking out Adrian Gonzalez in the top of the 11th with runners on second and third.
Gonzalez launched a two-run homer for Boston, which starts 0-3 after beginning last season 0-6.
Mark Melancon (0-2) couldn't preserve the win for the Red Sox in the 11th.
Boston's Clay Buchholz made his first start since last June due to a back injury and was touched for seven runs on eight hits and two walks in four innings.
After Boston added an insurance run in the top of the ninth on Nick Punto's single, which brought home Darnell McDonald to make it 10-7, the Tigers rallied in the bottom half to send the contest into extras.
Alfredo Aceves, attempting to pick up his first save of the season, gave up back-to-back singles to Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch to start the frame.
Cabrera came up next and hooked the first offering from Aceves around the left-field foul pole to tie the game at 10.
After a scoreless 10th, Boston tallied two runs in the visitors' 11th. Punto's single to left field brought home Cody Ross, and two batters later, Dustin Pedroia hammered a hanging breaking pitch to left to plate Mike Aviles.
But the resilient Tigers refused to go away as the Boston bullpen blew its second save chance of the game.
"We like our bullpen, we have some good arms," Punto said. "We just got beat by a tough offense this series."
Cabrera and Prince Fielder reached with a pair of one-out singles, and Cabrera came home on Delmon Young's sac fly to center field.
Avila followed with a screaming line drive that barely got over the wall in right field to send Comerica Park into complete euphoria.
"When I hit it I thought maybe it had a chance," Avila said of the home run. "The way the wind was blowing today I wasn't sure because it was blowing out to left, and it just barely got over."
For the third straight game, the Tigers struck first. In the home half of the first, Cabrera brought home Jackson with a base hit through the hole on the right side.
After Fielder singled and Avila walked, Jhonny Peralta stepped up with the bases loaded and launched a three-run double to deep center to make it 4-0. It was a long run for Ellsbury, who had the ball pop out of his glove on the warning track.
The Red Sox cut the margin to two with a pair of runs in the top of the second. Aviles plated David Ortiz and McDonald with a slicing double into right-center field.
The Tigers tacked on another run in the second on Cabrera's sac fly, which plated Ryan Raburn to make it 5-2.
The Red Sox, though, responded with five runs in their half of the third to take their first lead of the season.
Gonzalez led off with a single and Ortiz followed with a double to bring him home. After Ryan Sweeney singled two batters later, Aviles knocked in Ortiz with a base hit to left field. Kelly Shoppach was then hit by a pitch to load the bases with one away, and Punto lifted a sac fly to center field to plate Sweeney. With Ellsbury batting, Aviles came home on a balk, and Shoppach scored on Ellsbury's single.
Detroit knotted the game at seven with two runs in the home fourth. Raburn and Jackson opened the frame with back-to-back singles and Boesch plated Raburn with a base hit to right field. Jackson moved to third on the play and scored when Cabrera grounded into a double play.
The pendulum swung back in Boston's favor in the sixth. Ellsbury began the inning with a double to left field and two batters later, Gonzalez belted a belt-high fastball deep into the seats in right-center field to give the Red Sox a 9-7 advantage.
Tigers starter Max Scherzer lasted 2 2/3 innings after giving up seven runs on eight hits and two walks...Boston was 8-for-21 with runners in scoring position, while Detroit was 4-for-10...Vicente Padilla tossed four scoreless innings in relief for the Red Sox...Game Time: 4:45.
04/08 21:57:06 ET