DETROIT — Jim Leyland had no big plans for Detroit’s oddest lineup card of the year.
“I’ll throw it away, unless I can sell it to some bar on the way home,” the Detroit manager said.
Leyland used his new lineup in an effort to boost the offense after the Tigers lost 1-0 in Game 3. Slumping leadoff hitter Austin Jackson was dropped to eighth in the order, and he responded with two hits and two walks.
Jackson was 3 for 33 with 18 strikeouts in this postseason before Wednesday. He said the walk in the second inning that brought home a run put him at ease a bit.
“It was a big situation right there to try to get something done,” Jackson said. “I think after I’d seen a couple of pitches I was able to kind of just take some deep breaths and relax a little bit — and not worry so much about the result, just try to get a good pitch.”
Leyland was quick to deflect credit for the lineup switch.
Doug Fister provided another fine outing for Detroit. He allowed a run in six innings, and the Tigers’ starting pitchers have yielded only three runs in 27 ALCS innings while striking out 42.
After blowing a 5-0 lead in Game 2, Detroit kept the Red Sox at bay Wednesday.
Game 5 is Thursday night in Detroit. The Tigers’ Anibal Sanchez faces Boston’s Jon Lester in a rematch of Game 1, which was won by Detroit 1-0.
Jacoby Ellsbury had four hits for the Red Sox on Wednesday, finishing a homer shy of the cycle, but now it’s Boston manager John Farrell fielding questions about whether a lineup shake-up is in order after another tough night against Detroit’s pitching.
“The one thing that we’ve maintained is a constant approach with the lineup and not creating further uncertainty,” Farrell said. “I think our guys have responded well to that.”
The Tigers lost Games 2 and 3, wasting gems by Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Leyland left Jackson in the lineup but changed the batting order. Jackson hit eighth, and other hitters moved up a spot. That left Hunter hitting leadoff for the first time since 1999, and Cabrera was second for only the third time in his career — first since 2004.