Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson takes one of his two walks in Game 4 Wednesday. Jackson was 2-for-2 with two RBIs after being dropped to No. 8 in the batting order. (Elizabeth Conley / Detroit News)
Detroit — Same lineup. Well, not really. But pretty darn close.
There was one minor change for the Tigers for Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Thursday night at Comerica Park. Manager Jim Leyland —decided to move Omar Infante up a spot and Alex Avila down a spot. Makes sense, with the Tigers facing Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester.
Leyland, meanwhile, maintained his stance that the lineup change for Game 4 wasn’t behind the Tigers’ bats suddenly coming alive in a 7-3 victory.
“It wasn’t a drastic lineup, in my opinion,” Leyland said. “The one mission was to try to get Austin maybe away from it a little bit and let him relax a little bit.”
And it worked. Jackson was 2-for-2 — two opposite-field singles — with two walks, two runs and a stolen base. The bases-loaded walk in the second inning helped spark a five-run rally.
“He had a terrific game,” Leyland said. “From that standpoint, the mission was accomplished.”
“It still had nothing to do with (Torii) Hunter driving in two runs with a big hit,” the manager added about Hunter’s two-run double in the second inning.
Jackson, the Tigers leadoff hitter all season and in the postseason until Game 4, again will bat eighth for Game 5.
“You could see in that first at-bat he was more relaxed,” Leyland said. “You could he hadn’t been feeling real comfortable, but all of a sudden in an RBI situation, he was more relaxed, didn’t panic and was just looking for a good pitch to hit.
“And when he didn’t get it, he took it. I was thrilled with that.”
Torii Hunter, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 3B
Prince Fielder, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Jhonny Peralta, LF
Omar Infante, 2B
Alex Avila, C
Austin Jackson, CF
Jose Iglesias, SS
SP- Anibal Sanchez
Red Sox lineup
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jonny Gomes, LF
Stephen Drew, SS
Xander Bogaerts, 3B
David Ross, C
SP- Jon Lester