They got it by scoring the go-ahead run on a strikeout and held on for a 9-8 win Friday night -- their 14th in a row at Fenway Park, where they play 24 of their 36 remaining games.
"Smart hitting," Boston manager Terry Francona deadpanned about Johnny Damon, who struck out and reached first on a wild pitch that allowed Bill Mueller to score for a 6-5 lead in the sixth. "But we also took advantage."
The Red Sox scored three more runs in that inning and overcame four Detroit homers as Mike Timlin, their newest closer, got three outs for his third save in eight chances.
The best team on the field may have been the grounds crew, which worked long hours to resod half the outfield after it was damaged by the huge stage used for two Rolling Stones concerts.
"It actually played well. I give Dave Mellor and his staff a lot of credit for getting it in good shape," Detroit manager Alan Trammell said, referring to the grounds crew chief. "Certainly, it's not perfect, but how could it be."
"He's been solid for us all year, and we need him now more than ever," catcher Doug Mirabelli said.
Manny Ramirez drove in three runs in the opener of a season-long 14-game homestand. Boston, which leads the second-place New York Yankees by 2½ games in the AL East, came off a 4-6 trip that ended with two losses in three games at Kansas City.
"We fed off our fans and we fed off each other," Trot Nixon said.
First-base umpire Jim Wolf ruled that Granderson's high fly near the Pesky Pole in right was foul, but the call was reversed after the four umpires consulted. Francona ran from the dugout and was ejected for arguing with plate umpire Randy Marsh.
"I didn't think that there was any question that it was fair," Trammell said.
Boston's hitters "just keep coming at you," he added. "You give up nine runs, you're probably going to lose."
Francona said he was upset because he had just received a memo from major league baseball saying that umpires' decisions must be "conclusive" when they consult each other.
"When an umpire in the middle of the field overrules it, that word `conclusive' " doesn't fit, Francona said. "I had a hard time understanding that."
Wakefield retired nine of his next 10 batters and left after six innings with the Red Sox leading 9-5.
Boston tied the score in the fifth on an RBI double by David Ortiz and a run-scoring groundout by Nixon, who hustled down the line and just avoided an inning-ending play by beating the throw from shortstop John McDonald.
Mueller doubled off Jason Johnson (7-10) leading off the sixth, Mirabelli walked and Alex Cora sacrificed. Damon struck out but reached first when the ball got past catcher Rodriguez, allowing Mueller to score.
Tony Graffanino singled in a run, and Ramirez hit a two-run double that increased Boston's lead to 9-5 and boosted Ramirez's major league-leading RBI total to 115.
Johnson gave up all nine runs, nine hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings. Detroit has lost three straight after winning seven of eight.
Wakefield was hit by a batted ball for the second straight game when Dmitri Young's shot struck near his right knee in the first. On Aug. 18, Wakefield left after 4 1/3 innings when Casey Kotchman's ball struck him lower on the same leg at Anaheim.
Wakefield allowed Rodriguez's RBI single in the first, but Boston made it 3-1 in the third on sacrifice flies by Damon and Nixon, and a bases-loaded walk to Ramirez.
- SS Edgar Renteria didn't start after Boston's plane from Kansas City arrived home at 3:45 a.m. but pinch hit in the eighth and singled.
- Ortiz was back in the starting lineup after missing one game with a bruised left palm.
- Detroit has 19 homers in its last nine games.
- Boston's home attendance is 2,004,342. It reached the 2 million mark in its 57th game, one game earlier than last year.