Detroit's Jose Alvarez was impressive on the mound in his major league debut.
Now, he'll get a crack at baseball's best offense.
Alvarez takes the ball Thursday night as the Tigers host the Boston Red Sox in the opener of a four-game series.
Alvarez (1-0, 1.50 ERA) gave up one run and three hits while striking out seven over six innings in a 4-1 win over Cleveland on June 9. Detroit (39-31) purchased the 24-year-old's contract from Triple-A for that start in place of the injured Anibal Sanchez , then sent him back to the minors afterward.
But with Sanchez landing on the disabled list Monday with a strained shoulder, Alvarez has been recalled for another start.
The left-hander took a no-hitter into the fifth against the Indians.
"You certainly had to like his demeanor and his mound presence. I thought it was terrific," manager Jim Leyland said. "He didn't appear to be overwhelmed by anything."
His second big league start likely won't get any easier against the Red Sox (44-30), who lead baseball with 373 runs.
Boston, however, has sputtered some in scoring 27 runs during a 4-5 stretch. It suffered a 6-2 home loss Wednesday to Tampa Bay, getting outhit 15-7.
Detroit is also coming off a discouraging home defeat, falling 13-3 to Baltimore on Wednesday. All six runs against starter Rick Porcello came in the fourth inning.
Even after the outcome was in little doubt, Jose Valverde struggled yet again, yielding four runs and five hits in the ninth.
The Tigers were also 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position after going 1 for 8 in a 5-2 defeat Tuesday. It was only the second time this season they've dropped a home series, and the first since they lost two of three to Cleveland from May 10-12.
"I don't want to sit here and look like I'm making excuses, because I'm not in any way, shape or form," Leyland said. "Things have to be a little bit better. But like I said, today was a day where it was a combination of things."
Detroit hopes to bounce back against Boston starter John Lackey (4-5, 3.08), who is making his first start versus the Tigers since 2010. He was 6-0 through his first eight career starts against the Tigers but suffered losses the last two times he faced them while surrendering 10 runs over 13 innings.
Lackey's last start saw him notch his first win since May 24, as he held the Orioles to two runs over seven innings in a 5-4 victory on Saturday. He gave up four hits and two runs in the first inning before settling down.
Austin Jackson , 10 for 21 while hitting safely in his last five games, was 11 for 23 with an OPS of 1.354 in six contests versus Boston last season.
Boston had won 10 of 13 meetings in Detroit prior to dropping the last four there.
|Boston Red Sox|
|June 15, 2013||David Ross||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 11, 2013||Clayton Mortensen||15-Day DL||Right hip impingement|
|June 09, 2013||Clay Buchholz||15-Day DL||Neck strain|
|June 08, 2013||Clay Buchholz||Day-to-Day||Left game - neck stiffness|
|May 31, 2013||Jacoby Ellsbury||Day-to-Day||Tight left groin|
|May 26, 2013||Clay Buchholz||Day-to-Day||Right collarbone pain|
|June 17, 2013||Alex Avila||15-Day DL||Left forearm contusion|
|June 16, 2013||Anibal Sanchez||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
|June 08, 2013||Anibal Sanchez||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder stiffness|
|May 12, 2013||Austin Jackson||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 12, 2013||Austin Jackson||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|April 26, 2013||Phil Coke||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
DETROIT (AP) -- Jhonny Peralta 's ninth-inning homer gave the Detroit Tigers a joyful break from all that talk about their beleaguered bullpen.
It was Boston's closer who lost this game, and now the Red Sox have some relief issues of their own to sort out.
Peralta hit a two-run homer off Andrew Bailey in the bottom of the ninth to give the Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Red Sox on Thursday night. Boston led 3-2 when Victor Martinez drew a leadoff walk off Bailey, and Peralta followed with a line drive over the fence in left field for his seventh homer of the year.
"I don't try to hit a home run, but I try to have good contact with the ball," Peralta said. "That's what happened when I had good contact."
Detroit manager Jim Leyland said before the game he was ready to use Joaquin Benoit to close instead of struggling Jose Valverde - although he stopped short of officially naming Benoit as the closer for the long term.
After the game, Red Sox manager John Farrell said Bailey would be given a break from closing.
"We're going to back him out of there right now and try to get him fixed, so we'll look at some other internal options to close," Farrell said. "His velocity hasn't come back since the DL stint, and although he says he feels fine, the results obviously aren't there."
Bailey (3-1) missed time in May because of a bicep problem. Joel Hanrahan , Boston's top choice to close, is out for the season after elbow surgery.
David Ortiz homered and drove in a tiebreaking run with an eighth-inning single to put Boston up, but Drew Smyly (3-0) replaced Phil Coke for Detroit and prevented any further scoring by the Red Sox. He struck out four in two innings of relief.
Detroit improved to only 2-19 when trailing after eight innings.
The Red Sox wasted a nice performance by John Lackey , who allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings. Koji Uehara pitched a perfect eighth, but Bailey didn't get an out.
Detroit's Jose Alvarez allowed two runs and five hits in five innings in his second big league start, and Luke Putkonen got five straight outs in relief.
Then Leyland brought in Coke, the left-hander who has struggled against right-handed hitters. Coke struck out the left-handed hitting Jacoby Ellsbury to end the Boston seventh, but he walked switch-hitting Shane Victorino and right-handed hitting Dustin Pedroia to start the eighth.
The lefty-swinging Ortiz followed by pulling a base hit to right to give the Red Sox the lead.
Ortiz was 1 for 15 off Coke before that hit, which is why Leyland stuck with the left-hander and hoped he could get out of trouble.
"He didn't do very good, because he walked guys," Leyland said. "He gets those two guys out, he probably gets Ortiz out. But he walked them, and that's a no-no."
Peralta made up for that with one swing and was of course mobbed at the plate.
"I see everybody at home plate, it's a good feeling, hitting a walk-off home run," Peralta said. "It's the best that I can feel."
Smyly, one Detroit reliever who has been terrific this year, kept the deficit at one and gave the Tigers a decent chance at a comeback.
"It's too late to score three or four runs. You've got to keep it where it's at," Smyly said. "I'm glad I was able to do that."
Alvarez, who held Cleveland to a run in six innings in his major league debut earlier this month, handled Boston's lineup reasonably well, but Ortiz went deep in the fourth for his 15th homer of the season, a solo shot to open the scoring.
Jose Iglesias led off the fifth with a triple and scored on Ellsbury's single to make it 2-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, Torii Hunter 's soft line drive with the bases loaded fell in for a two-run single, tying the game.
Alvarez is expected to make at least one more start for the Tigers in place of the injured Anibal Sanchez .
NOTES: Detroit scratched OF Matt Tuiasosopo before the game because of a mildly strained intercostal muscle. ... Farrell announced that RHP Allen Webster will start Saturday night's game against the Tigers. ... Boston LHP Jon Lester (6-4) faces Detroit RHP Doug Fister (6-4) on Friday night.