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Crawford’s Walk-off Gives Sox 6th Straight

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Boston Red Sox's Carl Crawford, left, is congratulated by teammate David Ortiz, right, after hitting a game-winning, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers during an MLB baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Thursday, May 19, 2011. The Red Sox won 4-3. Red Sox's Jose Iglesias, center, who pinch-ran in the ninth inning, looks on. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Boston Red Sox’s Carl Crawford, left, is congratulated by teammate David Ortiz, right, after hitting a game-winning, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers during an MLB baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Thursday, May 19, 2011. The Red Sox won 4-3. Red Sox’s Jose Iglesias, center, who pinch-ran in the ninth inning, looks on. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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BOSTON (AP) _ Carl Crawford hit a bases-loaded single in the
bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Boston Red Sox to their
season-high sixth straight win, 4-3 over the Detroit Tigers on
Thursday night.

After blowing a 3-1 lead in the eighth by giving up back-to-back
homers to Brennan Boesch and Miguel Cabrera, Boston rallied in the
ninth to complete the two-game sweep of the Tigers.

Jonathan Papelbon (2-0) got the win after pitching a scoreless,
but hectic ninth, then the Red Sox came through against Al
Alburquerque (0-1) in the bottom half.

J.D. Drew and David Ortiz each homered for Boston and Josh
Beckett pitched six solid innings. He was pulled before the seventh
with tightness in his neck as the Red Sox took no chances on the
cool, misty night.

The Red Sox next host the Chicago Cubs when interleague play
begins Friday in the first meeting beteween the two teams at Fenway
since the 1918 World Series.

Justin Verlander went eight innings, striking out nine and
holding the Red Sox to six hits and no walks.

Kevin Youkilis walked leading off the ninth and the Red Sox
brought in pinch-runner Jose Iglesias, who went to third when Ortiz
hit a single to right through the Tigers’ infield shift. Detroit
walked Drew to load the bases with nobody out and Jed Lowrie came
through with a bloop to shallow left. But Andy Dirks threw home in
time to force the first out.

Darnell McDonald replaced Ortiz as a pinch-runner at third and
had an easy trot home when Crawford lined a ball to center field.

Papelbon got himself in trouble in the ninth, allowing
consecutive singles to Brandon Inge and Austin Jackson, then walked
Scott Sizemore to load the bases with one out. Papelbon struck out
Boesch on three pitches, then got Cabrera swinging to keep it tied.

Beckett scattered five hits over six innings and allowed just
one run, but Boston’s bullpen couldn’t hold a 3-1 lead.

Boesch led off the eighth with a homer to right off Daniel Bard.
Cabrera followed with a drive over the Green Monster to tie it at
3-all.

Drew drove a 1-0 pitch to the seats in deep right field. Ortiz’s
shot through the fog in the seventh carried over the Tigers’
bullpen and put the Sox up 3-1.

Beckett was pulled after only throwing 83 pitches. The team
announced later that he had tightness in his neck and on the cool,
wet night the Red Sox weren’t about to risk losing another starting
pitcher. Boston put both John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka on the
disabled list already this week with right elbow strains.

Beckett’s only inning of trouble was the second, when he walked
Cabrera to start it. Victor Martinez followed with a single to
right, then after a fly out to short left, Andy Dirks drove in
Cabrera with a single to put the Tigers up 1-0. The Tigers had the
bases loaded with one out, but Beckett stopped the damage by
getting Inge and Jackson to fly out.

Drew tied it with a sacrifice fly in the second.

NOTES: Verlander struck out Boston’s top three batters after
allowing a leadoff single to Jason Varitek in the third. … A
steady rain that had been falling in Boston let up about half an
hour before gametime. … Both teams entered the game with records
of 22-20. … Dirks’ RBI single in the second ended Beckett’s
career-long scoreless innings streak at 19. … The manual
scoreboard in left field had “Go Bruins” spelled out before the
game, which was scheduled to start an hour before the Bruins
visited the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the NHL Eastern
Conference finals. … Tigers’ 3B Inge turned 34 Thursday.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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