DETROIT -- David Ortiz didn't do much for the first eight innings. He made up for it in the last two.
Ortiz tied the score with a ninth-inning homer off Detroit Tigers closer Fernando Rodney, then hit a three-run shot off Jamie Walker during a seven-run 10th that carried the Boston Red Sox to a 10-7 victory Tuesday night.
"He's the best hitter in the game when it counts," teammate Johnny Damon said. "The best clutch hitter I've ever seen."
Pinch-hitter Bill Mueller snapped a 3-3 tie with an RBI groundout in the 10th. Ortiz and Jason Varitek both homered later in the inning for the Red Sox, who have won seven of eight. They lead the Yankees by 4½ games in the AL East.
Varitek homered from both sides of the plate, the first time he has accomplished the feat. It was the first time a Red Sox player connected from both sides since Mueller did it on July 29, 2003, at Texas.
Ortiz's home run in the ninth off Rodney tied it at 3-all.
"I knew he has a good fastball," said Ortiz, who once played winter ball with Rodney. "I wasn't giving up on his fastball."
Suddenly, the Red Sox had new life.
"We were one pitch away from going home," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "David put a good swing on it and we got to keep playing."
"I don't even care," Monroe said, referring to his first career slam. "It was a waste. We lost."
Walker replaced Dingman but gave up an RBI single to Damon. He stole second and went to third on Edgar Renteria's infield hit before Ortiz hit his second homer in two innings deep into the right-center stands.
"Our bullpen just didn't do the job," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. "Yesterday, they were great."
Boston's seven-run 10th was its biggest extra-inning total since scoring seven times in the 11th inning on June 4, 1982, against the Angels.
Chad Bradford (2-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
With the score tied at 2, Chris Shelton led off the Detroit eighth with a double over Ramirez's head in left, then went to third on Dmitri Young's groundout.
Magglio Ordonez's sacrifice fly gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead.
Detroit's Nate Robertson allowed two runs -- on Varitek's first homer -- and two hits in eight innings, but he is winless in five starts.
"He went right through us," Francona said. "If not for that one swing early by Varitek, we might not have ever gotten a chance in the ninth."
Trammell said he felt good about his decision to pull Robertson, who threw only 90 pitches. Rodney is Detroit's fourth closer this season after the trades of Ugueth Urbina and Kyle Farnsworth and a season-ending injury to Troy Percival.
"It is easy to second-guess me, but it was my call," Trammell said. "I'd like someone to give me a guarantee that David Ortiz wouldn't have done that to Nate Robertson. We're talking about someone who is arguably one of the best players in baseball."
Robertson said he would have loved to pitch the ninth, but wasn't surprised by the decision.
"It's what you do," he said. "That's why you pay a closer. That's his job. The same thing happened to Curt Schilling last night, and he's one of the best pitchers ever."
Red Sox rookie Jonathan Papelbon, making his second career start, allowed two runs and six hits in five innings.
Boston took a 2-0 lead in the second when Ramirez walked and Varitek homered into the left-field bullpen. But Robertson retired his next 11 batters and didn't give up another hit until Renteria's single in the sixth.
Detroit tied it in the fifth on Polanco's two-run single, but he was thrown out trying to advance to second.
|David Ortiz celebrates with Edgar Renteria after hitting a three-run homer in the 10th inning. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Boston Red Sox|
|Johnny Damon, CF||5||1||1||1||0||1||0||.333|
|Edgar Renteria, SS||5||1||2||0||0||0||0||.282|
|David Ortiz, DH||5||2||2||4||0||1||1||.304|
|Manny Ramirez, LF||4||2||1||0||1||0||0||.287|
|Jason Varitek, C||5||2||2||4||0||0||0||.306|
|Kevin Millar, 1B||4||0||0||0||1||1||0||.270|
|Tony Graffanino, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||1||1||.313|
|Kevin Youkilis, 3B||3||1||1||0||1||0||0||.288|
|Gabe Kapler, RF||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.286|
|a- Bill Mueller, PH||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||.291|
|Adam Stern, RF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.133|
|a-grounded out for Kapler in the 10th|
|2B - Manny Ramirez (23, Walker)|
|HR - David Ortiz 2 (31, Rodney, Walker), Jason Varitek 2 (20, Robertson, German)|
|RBI - Johnny Damon (57), David Ortiz 4 (105), Jason Varitek 4 (58), Bill Mueller (49)|
|2-OUT RBI - Johnny Damon (25), David Ortiz 3 (41), Jason Varitek 2 (25)|
|SB - Johnny Damon (13, 2nd base off Walker/V. Wilson)|
|CS - Edgar Renteria (4, 2nd base by Robertson/V. Wilson)|
|Team LOB - 2|
|Outfield Assists - Johnny Damon 1|
|DP - Renteria-Graffanino-Millar|
|E - Manny Ramirez (4, misplayed grounder)|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Chad Bradford (W,2-0)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.84|
|HBP - V. Wilson (by Jon Papelbon)|
|WP - Jon Papelbon (1), Mike Remlinger (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jon Papelbon 84-56, Jeremi Gonzalez 28-17, Mike Timlin 14-9, Chad Bradford 16-10, Mike Remlinger 28-15|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Papelbon 2-5, Jeremi Gonzalez 2-4, Mike Timlin 2-1, Chad Bradford 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Jon Papelbon 22, Jeremi Gonzalez 6, Mike Timlin 4, Chad Bradford 3, Mike Remlinger 7|
|Placido Polanco, 2B||5||0||2||2||0||0||0||.327|
|Chris Shelton, 1B||4||2||3||0||1||1||1||.329|
|Dmitri Young, DH||4||1||1||0||1||2||3||.263|
|Magglio Ordonez, RF||2||1||0||1||2||0||3||.301|
|Craig Monroe, LF||5||1||2||4||0||1||2||.284|
|Brandon Inge, 3B||5||0||0||0||0||2||3||.261|
|Omar Infante, SS||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.232|
|Vance Wilson, C||3||1||0||0||0||1||0||.188|
|Curtis Granderson, CF||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.276|
|2B - Chris Shelton (15, Timlin)|
|HR - Craig Monroe (13, Remlinger)|
|SF - Magglio Ordonez (6)|
|SH - Curtis Granderson (2)|
|RBI - Placido Polanco 2 (44), Magglio Ordonez (34), Craig Monroe 4 (73)|
|2-OUT RBI - Craig Monroe 4 (21)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - V. Wilson-Inge, Robertson-Polanco-Shelton|
|E - Chris Shelton (4, missed catch)|
|Fernando Rodney (BS,4)||1||1||1||1||0||0||1||2.33|
|Craig Dingman (L,1-2)||0.2||2||2||2||0||0||0||3.29|
|Pitches-Strikes - Nate Robertson 90-57, Fernando Rodney 22-11, Craig Dingman 15-10, Jamie Walker 8-6, Franklyn German 6-5|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nate Robertson 8-10, Craig Dingman 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Nate Robertson 28, Fernando Rodney 4, Craig Dingman 4, Jamie Walker 4, Franklyn German 2|
|Attendance - 32129|
|Game Time - 3:05|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Andy Fletcher, First Base - Paul Schrieber, Second Base - Jeff Kellogg, Third Base - Bob Davidson|