DETROIT -- Bronson Arroyo looked at the giant scoreboard looming over the left-field wall and started thinking about his first no-hitter in the major leagues.
"It crept in my mind after the sixth inning," he acknowledged. "If anybody said they were on the mound and didn't know what was going on, I think is lying."
Arroyo's no-hit bid didn't last much longer -- ending with Carlos Guillen's one-out homer in the seventh -- but David Ortiz's tiebreaking double in the ninth lifted the Boston Red Sox to a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.
"I was just praying to get a hit. I hadn't had a hit in a long time," said Ortiz, whose only previous hit in the four-game series was Monday. "I was happy to get an RBI, especially for Bronson."
Arroyo (4-0) yielded three hits and two walks while striking out a season-high eight in eight innings, his longest outing of the year.
"He's really more of a breaking-ball pitcher, and that's an area we still need some work on," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. "We get caught a lot of times with guys who throw breaking balls."
Keith Foulke pitched the ninth for his seventh save.
Arroyo has won his last nine decisions -- dating to Aug. 15, 2004 -- and his streak of 15 consecutive starts without a loss is the longest active run in the majors.
"He could be our No. 1," teammate Johnny Damon said. "He's been pretty incredible."
Using his quirky delivery -- with a high, straight-leg kick -- and a mix of pitches, Arroyo stymied the Tigers. He gave up a two-out walk and single in the eighth, then struck out Brandon Inge.
Detroit's Jason Johnson also was effective.
Johnson gave up one run, eight hits and two walks while striking out four in seven innings. He broke four bats in the first five innings.
"He was sawing our bats off," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "We're going home lighter. We don't have any bats left."
Red Sox shortstop Edgar Renteria left with an injured right index finger after he was hit by a pitch while trying to bunt in the second inning. Renteria was replaced by Ramon Vazquez, who then hit an RBI single off Johnson.
Francona said X-rays were negative, adding there's a chance Renteria will play Friday at home against Seattle.
The one-run lead held up until Guillen's homer barely cleared the right-field fence, just over the 330-foot sign.
Nixon, who matched a career high with four hits, returned from a two-game suspension for his role in last month's scuffle in Tampa Bay. He scored the go-ahead run after reaching on a bloop single.
"If you don't get a good read on a ball, it doesn't matter how fast you are," Detroit center fielder Nook Logan said. "He took a big swing and hit it off the end of the bat. If he hits that on the barrel, with that swing, I'm catching it against the wall, or it's a home run."
- At Triple-A Pawtucket, Arroyo threw a perfect game in 2003. He is appealing a six-game suspension for his role in the scuffle with Tampa Bay.
- The last Boston pitcher to win nine decisions in a row was Pedro Martinez in 2002.
- The Tigers fell to 3-8 in one-run games.
- Boston RHP Curt Schilling, on the disabled list with a right ankle injury, played long toss and will be evaluated again Friday.
- Francona was considering giving Manny Ramirez the day off and decided to do so after the outfielder turned an ankle Wednesday night. Ramirez said he didn't know whether he would be healthy enough to play Friday.
- Detroit RHP Kyle Farnsworth (biceps) and OF Craig Monroe (groin) did not play and are day-to-day.
- Damon extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the seventh.