BOSTON -- Boston's bullpen is in shambles. The rotation is a mess. And there are so many pitchers going from one to the other that it's hard to tell which is which.
In his first start since an emergency relief appearance, Bronson Arroyo gave up a grand slam to Dmitri Young, and the Detroit Tigers rallied from a six-run deficit to beat the Red Sox 12-8 on Saturday night.
Boston lost for the third time in four games and is just 1½ games ahead of the New York Yankees in the AL East.
"We'd better fix it come September, or we're not going to see October," outfielder Johnny Damon said. "We need to fix it as soon as possible. We know we're going to get some help soon."
That would be from Keith Foulke, the star closer of last year's World Series run who hasn't been effective this season while fighting a knee injury that eventually required arthroscopic surgery. He made a rehab appearance in Class-A Lowell on Saturday, allowing one unearned run on three hits while striking out one in 1 2/3 innings.
His impending return allowed Curt Schilling to return to the rotation, but he struggled in his first start back on Thursday night. Jonathan Papelbon, who made two stellar starts since his debut on July 31, went back to the bullpen, where he was unable to stop the Tigers after Arroyo was chased in the sixth.
The 24-year-old rookie lost his first major-league decision, giving up two runs on four hits in one inning while walking two and striking out two.
"We've asked a lot of him this week: Starting, relieving, short rest," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He's a young kid, and a good kid and a good pitcher, but he made a couple of mistakes. It's a tough situation for him."
Roman Colon (1-0) allowed three hits in 3 1/3 innings, striking out five and throwing consecutive wild pitches to let in his only run. Brandon Inge and Magglio Ordonez each had three hits for Detroit; Inge, Ordonez and Omar Infante each had two of Detroit's eight doubles.
"When we have our cylinders going, we can hit with anybody," Young said.
The Red Sox had won 14 straight at Fenway Park since July 18, when they dropped into second place in the AL East with a loss to Tampa Bay. Boston won the next day to get back into first and has been there ever since, moving as many as 5½ games in front of the second-place Yankees.
But New York, which rallied with five runs in the ninth to beat Kansas City 8-7 earlier Saturday, is 1½ games back for the first time in a month.
The Red Sox scored six in the third, thanks in part to David Ortiz's three-run homer. But Detroit made it 6-5 in the fourth when Young homered, then Inge and Infante hit consecutive doubles off Arroyo.
Boston scored another in the fourth when Tony Graffanino walked, moved to second on a groundout and scored on two wild pitches by Colon. But the Tigers made it 8-7 with three in the sixth on doubles by Ordonez, Carlos Pena, Inge and Infante -- the last three consecutively -- chasing Arroyo in the process.
- Tigers starter Sean Douglass went three-plus innings, allowing seven runs and nine hits. He lasted just four innings the last time he faced the Red Sox, on Aug. 15.
- Arroyo, who got the loss when he relieved in extra innings on Wednesday, allowed seven runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
- Tigers manager Alan Trammell was ejected in the fourth, apparently arguing about a close pickoff play at first; it was Trammell's first win at Fenway as the Tigers manager after losing his first 11 tries.
- Boston's 203rd consecutive sellout tied Colorado for the second-longest streak in major league history. Cleveland's 455-game streak from 1995-2001 remains the longest.