After Doug Fister came up from a pitch holding his left side and was removed with two outs in the fourth inning, four Detroit relievers combined for 5 1/3 scoreless innings, preserving a shutout of last season's most dangerous Major League lineup.
Pitching to Red Sox right fielder Ryan Sweeney, Fister felt a sting in the left side of his ribs. Manager Jim Leyland and trainer Kevin Rand ran out to the mound and Fister was removed. Without warning, Duane Below, the left-hander who eight days prior had been set to pitch for Triple-A Toledo, ran out of the bullpen dugout to face Boston's lineup.
With what began as a 2-0 lead, Below went 2 1/3 innings, allowing just one hit, striking out four batters in a lineup that scored 875 runs in 2011 -- the most in the Majors.
"I think what you saw yesterday was also one of the reasons I was hoping that the 12th guy would be a left-hander," Leyland said. "We had him for [Adrian] Gonzalez and [David] Ortiz and [Jacoby] Ellsbury."
Of the three, only Gonzalez got a hit off the Tigers rookie. Octavio Dotel took over in the seventh and went 1 1/3 innings, giving up a hit then striking out Cody Ross, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Mike Aviles in order.
Phil Coke and Joaquin Benoit followed and got the last six outs to earn the Tigers their largest shutout win against the Red Sox since a 13-0 victory in 1948.