DETROIT -- For most players, a game-winning single in the 13th inning would be a source of joy.
For Ivan Rodriguez, though, the overwhelming feeling on Saturday night was relief.
It also meant Rodriguez was done squatting behind home plate after nearly 4½ hours.
"I had caught 13 innings, and I was really tired," Rodriguez said. "That guy's not easy to hit, but I just wanted to drive something."
David Ortiz reached base six times for Boston -- a homer, double and four walks. He was intentionally walked in each of his final three plate appearances.
"I don't mind taking walks -- that's always been part of my game," he said. "I just have to be patient and wait for the right situation. I saw my pitch once tonight and I didn't miss it."
The Red Sox, though, didn't give Ortiz any help, leaving a dozen runners on base. Boston was 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position after Ortiz's first-inning homer.
"This is frustrating after a long night," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "We need to make a quick turnaround for tomorrow afternoon."
While the Tigers avoided their 1,000th defeat to the Red Sox, they did lose All-Star second baseman Placido Polanco in the eighth inning to a strained ribcage muscle. His status is day-to-day.
Papelbon (0-2) hit Gary Sheffield to start the 13th, and with one out, Sheffield stole second.
Carlos Guillen took a called third strike, but Rodriguez lined a 1-0 pitch into the right-center field gap.
The 14-time All-Star thought the game was over, but Red Sox center fielder Coco Crisp nearly made a spectacular diving catch.
"He made it close -- it hit off his glove," Rodriguez said. "I hit that ball pretty hard, but he almost got it. That would have been a great play."
Jason Grilli (3-2), the sixth Tigers pitcher, got the win with a scoreless inning of relief.
"That was two great teams battling tooth and nail all night," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I'm just glad we got one more run than they did."
Detroit loaded the bases again in the 11th, but Craig Monroe popped out to end the inning.
In the 12th, it was Boston's turn as pinch-hitter Kevin Youkilis flew out with two outs and the bases loaded.
The game drew a crowd of 44,193 -- the second-largest in Comerica Park's eight-year history and the largest for a night game.
Bonderman has struggled all season at the start of games, and the Red Sox took advantage in the first. With one out, Dustin Pedroia tripled and Ortiz followed with a long homer to right, ending a 13-game drought.
Gabbard walked the first two batters in the fifth, and Rodriguez moved them up with a sacrifice bunt. Eric Hinske reached over the tarp to grab Marcus Thames' foul pop, but Monroe broke out of a slump with a two-run double over the head of Ramirez in left.
"I don't care about myself," Monroe said. "I just care that we got a big win."
Boston had several chances to go back in front, but couldn't get a key hit.
In the eighth, Pedroia doubled with one out. Ortiz was walked, and Ramirez hit into a force before Drew struck out again.
Crisp led off the 10th with a double. Julio Lugo failed twice to get down a bunt, but succeeded in getting the runner to third with a groundout to short.
The Tigers then intentionally walked Ortiz for the second time, and Ramirez grounded to Brandon Inge again, this time for a 5-4-3 double play.
"That was great pitching," Ortiz said. "They had everyone coming out of the bullpen."
- This year's opener against Toronto drew a stadium-record 44,297 fans. Saturday's sellout was the eighth straight, the longest streak in stadium history.
- Ortiz went 2-for-2 against Bonderman after coming into the game with a career .105 (2-for-19) mark against the Tigers pitcher.
- Opposing hitters are batting .373 against Bonderman in the first inning.
- The Red Sox are now 999-940 against Detroit.