DETROIT -- Tim Wakefield had his knuckleball working, and that made the rest of his pitches that much more effective.
David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez hit back-to-back home runs on successive pitches in Boston's fifth consecutive victory and seventh in its past eight games. Detroit, which was shut out for the fifth time this season, has lost five straight.
Wakefield's knuckler befuddled the Tigers all night long. He improved his record to 3-1 with his first victory since April 20. He had a season-high six strikeouts and didn't walk a batter.
"I felt really good tonight. It felt really good throwing strikes with all three pitches," said Wakefield, who threw more curves and fastballs than usual. "When I establish I can throw strikes with my knuckleball, it helps make my other pitches better."
"You've got to sit knuckleball, because that's been his bread and butter," Curtis Granderson said. "But when he's throwing the other pitches for strikes, it makes it even tougher."
Wakefield retired 17 in a row from the first inning until second baseman Dustin Pedroia booted Guillen's grounder for an error with one out in the seventh. Wakefield then retired Magglio Ordonez on a pop to short and Miguel Cabrera on a weak fly to left to end the inning.
"He threw all strikes," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "That's the best breaking ball we've seen from him all year."
Mike Timlin pitched the ninth and allowed one hit.
Detroit starter Nate Robertson (1-4) took the loss. He allowed four runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out four. He was pulled after allowing Ortiz's home run with one out in the seventh. The drive deep into the right-field stands, estimated at 414 feet, was Ortiz's seventh and second in two nights and made it 4-0.
Robertson was then replaced by rookie Freddy Dolsi, making his major league debut. Ramirez, who had three hits, hammered Dolsi's first pitch over the center field fence, 420 feet away. It was Ramirez's seventh home run and was estimated at 427 feet.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland refused to get down on his team, which is now 14-20 after being picked by many to win the World Series.
"We're not doing well right now," he said. "But it's very important that we remember what we have and how good they are and I think they have to remember that."
- Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling tested his ailing shoulder by playing catch on flat ground before Tuesday's game, but isn't ready to begin throwing off a mound. "He did good. He looked good," Francona said. "It's a good step for him. But he's not ready yet." The 41-year-old right-hander threw 25 balls from 60 feet away. He'll repeat the exercise Thursday before the Red Sox complete the four-game series.
- Ordonez is hitting .395 (15-for-38) lifetime against Wakefield but was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and the pop to short on Tuesday.
- With 1,022 appearances, Timlin ties Jose Mesa and Lee Smith for ninth all-time.
- Rodriguez's double in the eighth snapped an 0-for-10 skid.
- Boston infielder Alex Cora (right elbow sprain) was to begin a rehabilitation assignment Wednesday at Triple-A Pawtucket, where infielder Sean Casey (right hip strain) is to join him Thursday.