DETROIT — After watching the Tigers lose in the American League Championship Series in 2011 and seeing the Giants sweep them in last year's World Series, Motown is getting antsy.
And when the crowd of 42,669 began booing star first baseman Prince Fielder on Thursday night in Game 5 of the ALCS, it was another sign the bloom was off the rose.
Spending money on expensive free agents is what's expected now in Detroit, and nothing less than a championship will satisfy the fans' appetite.
But the Tigers' road was made a little rockier Thursday when the Red Sox hung on for a 4-3 victory to take a 3-2 lead in the series.
The ALCS moves to Fenway Park for Game 6, with Clay Buchholz facing Max Scherzer on Saturday with a chance to end it.
“We have to win one game, that's obvious,” Leyland said afterward. “Win one game and take it from there.”
Beforehand, Leyland refrained from calling Game 5 a “must-win” for the Tigers, but he acknowledged it would be tough to win twice in Boston.
“They're pretty good there, obviously,” he said.
After managing only three hits over the first 16 innings of the series, the Red Sox climbed out of the grave to win Game 2, then took two of three in Comerica Park. They grabbed a 4-0 lead after three innings off Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez, then hung on for dear life.
Jon Lester got the victory and Koji Uehara notched a save.
The momentum changed in one wild stretch when most-valuable-player favorite Miguel Cabrera ran through third base coach Tom Brookens' stop sign and was thrown out easily at the plate to end the first.
“He was waving [him home] and probably stopped him a little late,” Leyland said of Brookens, calling it “one of those unfortunate things.”
Cabrera, who has battled groin and abdominal injuries recently, limped back to his position after colliding with catcher David Ross.
Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli promptly cranked a mammoth home run to center field leading off a second, estimated at 450 feet. Cabrera then booted a routine grounder for an error, opening the door for a three-run inning. Napoli scored on a two-out wild pitch by Sanchez in the third to make it 4-0.
The booing of Fielder began in the fifth after he grounded out to end the inning following Cabrera's run-scoring single. Fielder hasn't driven in a run in the postseason in 17 games, since Game 1 of the ALCS last year.
The Tigers scored single runs in the sixth and seventh. Cabrera grounded into a double play in the seventh that brought home a run, pulling the Tigers to within 4-3, before Fielder grounded weakly to second.
Uehera recorded the first five-out save for a Red Sox pitcher in the postseason since Jonathan Papelbon did it in Game 4 of the 2007 World Series.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times