BOSTON -- In the mud and the blood and the beer, another great night of drama at the Fens, and for the second night in a row, Jonathan Papelbon was right in the middle of it.
Papelbon struck out Brennan Boesch and Miguel Cabrera with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, preserving a 3-all tie. On Wednesday night, Papelbon struck out Alex Avila and Ryan Raburn with the tying run on third in the ninth.
The degree of difficulty was multiplied Thursday by the presence of Cabrera, one of the game's best hitters, who went down swinging on a 97-mph fastball, and by the line drive that smacked Papelbon in the area behind his left knee at the start of the inning. Papelbon recovered to throw out Alex Avila at first, threw a few warmup pitches, then elected to stay in the game.
The Sox then responded in the bottom of the ninth, but not before left-fielder Andy Dirks threw out pinch runner Jose Iglesias at the plate on an apparent game-winning single by Jed Lowrie, who had fouled off five two-strike pitches before flaring a ball over the infield. The ball bounced directly to Dirks, and Iglesias, who had to hold up to make sure the ball was not caught, was gunned down.
The Sox have now won six in a row to move three games above .500.
Josh Beckett held the Tigers to a run on five hits through six innings, but left with what the club called neck tightness.
JD Drew knocked in two runs with a sacrifice fly and home run, and David Ortiz also homered for the Sox.