Omar Infante, right, celebrates with Torii Hunter, left, after Infante… (Jamie Squire / Getty Images )
DETROIT — Tigers Manager Jim Leyland had a big announcement to make before Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday, and he even prefaced it as such.
"Huge lineup change," Leyland said, before adding: "Really, I don't know if it's huge or not."
Whether it was the new lineup or the inefficiency of Red Sox starter Jake Peavy is debatable, but the revamped Tigers scored more runs in the first four innings than they did in the last three games in a 7-3 victory.
The Tigers evened the series at two games apiece, and Anibal Sanchez, who threw six hitless innings in Game 1, faces Jon Lester on Thursday in Game 5.
"I don't want to sound like this [lineup switch] had anything to do with it," Leyland said. "I thought about it long and hard ... and this is what I came up with. This has nothing to do with Jim Leyland. This is about the players."
It was also about Peavy, who suffered control issues in the five-run second and gave up seven runs on five hits and three walks over three-plus innings.
Leyland's big switch centered on Torii Hunter's moving into the leadoff spot for the first time since 1999 and struggling Austin Jackson dropping to eighth. Leyland also moved Miguel Cabrera up to the No. 2 hole for only the third time in his career, and moved up Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez.
"We have to take a shot," Leyland said. "Something to churn up the butter a little bit."
For those unfamiliar with the 19th century practice of churning butter, the grizzled Tigers manager was suggesting it was time to hit the shuffle button on the old iPod.
Peavy loaded the bases in the second on a single and two walks, then faced Jackson, who was hitting .091 in the postseason with 18 strikeouts in 33 at-bats. Instead of going right at him, Peavy nibbled around the plate and walked Jackson on four pitches, forcing in the first run.
Jackson, who was two for two with two walks, said he had awoken to a text message from coach Lloyd McClendon telling him of the lineup change.
"I was happy I was still in there. That's a relief," he said. "Kind of weird to wake up to that text message, but I didn't have much of a reaction. It worked out for the best."
Red Sox Manager John Farrell called it an "uncharacteristic" performance from Peavy in the second.
"Looked like he was trying to be a little bit too fine," he said.
After the walk to Jackson, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia mishandled a potential double-play grounder to allow another run to score on a fielder's choice and Hunter doubled home two more runs. After Cabrera dumped a single into center, the game was all but over at 5-0.
Jackson and Cabrera drove in runs in the fourth inning, giving Doug Fister the victory and making Leyland look like a genius.
The Tigers had scored six runs in the first three games, hitting .225. The new lineup worked so well Leyland said he'd go with it in Game 5.
Asked what he would do with the lineup card, Leyland joked: "I can sell it in some bar on the way home."