LAKELAND, Fla. -- Justin Verlander and Daisuke Matsuzaka dueled through their respective batting orders for three innings until Jacoby Ellsbury stepped up with a solo home run and a highlight catch, leading the Red Sox to a 2-1 win in 10 innings over the Tigers on Tuesday afternoon in front of a record crowd at Joker Marchant Stadium.
While Victor Martinez met his former Boston teammates for the first time since signing with Detroit as a free agent last November, Tuesday's headline matchup quickly became the out-for-out performances from the starting pitchers. Verlander retired the Red Sox in order the first time through the lineup, including strikeouts of three of Boston's first six hitters, and changed speeds.
Matsuzaka, who allowed 10 earned runs in his previous two starts, allowed just a ground-ball single to Martinez through three innings with three strikeouts. Dice-K's curveball to fan Brandon Inge left Detroit's third baseman looking at home-plate umpire Greg Gibson in amazement over the pitch.
Verlander had Ellsbury in an 0-2 count leading off the fourth inning when he tried to set up a 1-2 fastball. Ellsbury jumped it and sent a drive to right field for his second home run in three days. Verlander retired seven of his final eight hitters after that, but he left still trailing in the sixth.
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Matsuzaka, too, encountered trouble in the fourth, starting with a Magglio Ordonez single, but Ellsbury came through with another big play when he ran down Miguel Cabrera's 400-foot drive to straightaway center field. Matsuzaka finished with five strikeouts over five scoreless innings, scattering two hits.
Cabrera exacted some revenge in the seventh when he belted a leadoff homer off Matt Albers over the left-field wall.
With the game tied at 1-1 in the 10th, designated hitter Darnell McDonald hit a leadoff homer to give Boston a 2-1 lead.
Up next for Red Sox: Boston's tour of the I-4 corridor continues Wednesday with a 1:05 p.m. ET contest against the Braves at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex on MLB.TV. Jon Lester will make the start, followed by Randy Williams, Andrew Miller, Dennys Reyes and Matt Fox in relief. Adrian Gonzalez, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Marco Scutaro are scheduled to make the trip.
Up next for Tigers: The biggest homestand of the spring continues Wednesday on MLB.TV when the Tigers welcome the St. Louis Cardinals for a 1:05 p.m. game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Phil Coke will face the Cards for the second time in six days after tossing four scoreless innings in Jupiter last Friday. Lefty relief candidate Adam Wilk is scheduled to make his next bid for a job, while Jose Valverde and Ryan Perry try to get their pitches into regular-season form. Chris Carpenter is slated to start for St. Louis.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.