DETROIT (AP) — Avisail Garcia lifted a fly ball to right field, Daniel Nava drifted back to make the play — and then a sloppy game swung in Detroit’s favor for good.
Nava appeared to have the ball in his glove, but when it came free second base umpire Mike DiMuro ruled there was no catch. That was the first of two Boston errors that helped the Tigers score three runs in the eighth inning en route to a 7-5 victory over the Red Sox on Sunday.
“Sometimes it’s your day, sometimes it isn’t,” Detroit manager Jim Leyland said.
Justin Verlander struggled again for Detroit, but the Tigers rallied to win when Boston made a complete mess of the last few innings. The Red Sox allowed Detroit to tie the game at 4 in the seventh on a hit batter with the bases loaded — and then in the eighth, they gave up three runs on one hit.
Boston was convinced afterward that DiMuro had gotten the game’s key call wrong.
“I know I made the catch,” Nava said. “Sometimes calls go your way, sometimes they don’t.”
Nava, in right because Shane Victorino left the game with lower back tightness, went back toward the wall and tried to make an awkward-looking basket catch. A replay showed he might have lost the ball while transferring it from his glove to his throwing hand.
Boston manager John Farrell was ejected for arguing the call.
“When you spend the rest of the game in the clubhouse, you probably have a difference of opinion,” Farrell said. “Clearly, the call was missed. He caught it, he went to transfer to his throwing hand, dropped it at that point.”
Garcia ended up on second, and Bryan Holaday’s bunt also worked out nicely for Detroit when pitcher Andrew Miller (0-2) threw wildly to first for another error, putting runners at first and third with nobody out in a tie game.
Austin Jackson walked, and Alex Wilson came on and allowed Torii Hunter’s sacrifice fly that gave the Tigers a 5-4 lead. Miguel Cabrera was intentionally walked, and Prince Fielder hit a two-run single off Craig Breslow.
Joaquin Benoit (2-0) got the final four outs for the Tigers, although he allowed a run in the ninth.
The Tigers were fortunate just to tie it in the seventh. After Jackson’s leadoff single, Hunter hit a line drive that second baseman Dustin Pedroia dropped. It appeared the Red Sox might get a double play out of it, because Hunter was slow getting out of the batter’s box, but Jackson retreated to first.
Pedroia threw to first, retiring Hunter while Jackson was still standing on the base. When Boston retired Hunter, it meant Jackson was no longer forced to second, so he remained safely at first.
Cabrera and Fielder followed with singles to load the bases, and after Victor Martinez struck out, Jhonny Peralta was hit by a pitch to tie it at 4.
Verlander allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out four, and his ERA went up to 3.90. It was the second straight start in which he lasted only five innings.