DETROIT -- Kevin Youkilis realizes no matter how well he plays, he's not going to be an everyday player for the Boston Red Sox. He's OK with that.
Youkilis hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning to lift the Red Sox to a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday.
"I'm basically just filling in for guys," said the third baseman, who backs up Bill Mueller. "We have a set roster. I'm just trying to make the most of my opportunity."
Youkilis, who was 2-for-3 with a walk, is hitting .467 in five games. He was on Boston's opening day roster, but played only once before being sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket. Youkilis was recalled Saturday.
He hit .260 with seven homers and 35 RBIs in 72 games as a rookie in 2004.
"We try to find at-bats for him, but he just cares about winning," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.
Tim Wakefield (3-1) allowed three runs, 10 hits and one walk while striking out five in seven innings. The 38-year-old knuckleballer earned his 117th win with the Red Sox, tying Pedro Martinez and Joe Wood for fifth on the franchise's all-time list.
"I thought he was excellent," Francona said. "We were going to let him go out in the eighth until we got that run. I thought it was Wake's game to win."
Mike Timlin pitched the eighth and Keith Foulke finished for his sixth save.
Jay Payton drew a leadoff walk against Kyle Farnsworth (1-1) in the eighth, advanced on another walk and scored on Youkilis' single to left. Farnsworth gave up one run on two walks and a single in 1 1/3 innings.
"Once again, and this has been biting us lately, we had some walks," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. "You can't put runners on base like that against any team, much less a good one."
Detroit's Nate Robertson gave up three runs -- two earned -- on nine hits and three walks in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out three in his second straight no-decision.
Craig Monroe doubled and scored on Omar Infante's sacrifice fly in the second to give Detroit a 1-0 lead.
The Red Sox went ahead 3-1 in the third. Edgar Renteria drove in the first run with a single, Manny Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly and Johnny Damon scored on Brandon Inge's error at third base.
Infante doubled and scored on a double play, and Rondell White's RBI double tied the game at 3 in the fifth. Carlos Guillen was thrown out at the plate on White's hit, ending the inning, on Renteria's relay of Ramirez's throw.
"They had to execute a relay perfectly to keep us from going ahead," Trammell said. "That's why Renteria is a good player. If that ball is a little off either way, Carlos is safe."
The Red Sox hope to have updates on RHP Curt Schilling, on the DL with a right ankle injury, and David Wells, on the DL with a sprained right foot, on Friday after they are evaluated again. Schilling declined to talk about his ankle after the game. ... Monroe was replaced in center by Nook Logan because of a groin strain in the seventh. ... Farnsworth aggravated sore biceps. ... Both are expected to miss Thursday's game against Boston. ... RHP Wade Miller is scheduled to make his Red Sox debut Sunday at home against Seattle. A right shoulder injury has kept him out this season and limited him to 15 starts last year in Houston. ... Detroit's Dmitri Young (flu) was not in the starting lineup for the fourth game in a row. He singled as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. ... Boston's Trot Nixon is eligible to return to the lineup after serving a two-game suspension for his role in last month's scuffle in Tampa Bay. ... Damon, who was 3-for-5, extended his hitting streak to 11 games. ... The Tigers are 3-7 in one run games.