Prince Fielder finally did something right.
Then it went oh-so wrong again for the Tigers’ slugger, as a sixth-inning rally was cut short by some awfully bizarre baserunning.
Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz was lifted by manager John Farrell after issuing a leadoff walk to Torii Hunter, then allowing a single by Miguel Cabrera. Franklin Morales, the left-handed reliever brought in from the bullpen, promptly walked Fielder on four pitches to load the bases.
And after Victor Martinez followed with a single to the wall in left-center field, the Tigers had not only turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead, they had a chance for more with runners at the corners and no outs.
But Jhonny Peralta hit a grounder to second off right-hander Brandon Workman, and with Fielder breaking toward home on contact, it appeared there’d be a play at the plate. Victor Martinez held up between first and second trying to avoid a tag for as long as he could, but Fielder inexplicably held up between third and home as well.
That allowed second baseman Dustin Pedroia to turn the double play, tagging Martinez, then throwing it to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to get Fielder in a rundown that ended about as poorly as it started for the big first baseman. He flopped wildly in an headfirst attempt to beat a tag at third base, only to discover he was a few feet short — and right — of the bag.
Two outs, rally snuffed. And after Leyland lifted Peralta for Don Kelly as a pinch-runner -- and defensive replacement -- catcher Alex Avila struck out to end the inning.
Afterward, Fielder's explanation wasn't much better than his slide.
"I was trying to keep us out of a double play, and once I saw Pedroia tag (Martinez) I kind of got stuck there," said Fielder, who finished the postseason with just one extra-base hit and no RBIs in 40 at-bats. "Just a double play anyway."