BOS@DET: Tigers challenge safe call at third in 9th

DETROIT -- An odd moment developed in the ninth inning of the Tigers' 8-6 win over the Red Sox on Saturday.

With one out and Boston batting, Xander Bogaerts noticed nobody was manning third base. He took off for the bag, and Detroit closer Joe Nathan engaged him in a footrace from the mound.

Nathan's momentum forced Bogaerts off the base, and that's why a video review confirmed the initial ruling on the field of safe. Bogaerts scored on a David Ortiz groundout, but the Red Sox rally still came up short.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Sunday that he has enough faith in his team to take an extra base if the situation allows. That was exactly the case Saturday, with third baseman Nick Castellanos shifting to play Ortiz on the right side of the infield.

"That's the one thing that we want to be adamant about -- that if there's any kind of risk in advancing, you've got to have a feel that you're going to be 100-percent successful," Farrell said.

He added that he would've preferred to see Bogaerts execute a slide. But Bogaerts' aggressiveness on the play was still admirable to the skipper, even if he'd have found himself in the doghouse had he been a half-step slower.

"There's some things that you need to become aware of, and it's a moment like that yesterday, when they're in that alignment, that if the attention isn't being paid to you, you can exploit it," Farrell said.

Buchholz tosses three simulated innings in Detroit

BOS@MIN: Buchholz fans six over six strong frames

DETROIT -- Clay Buchholz threw three simulated innings off the Comerica Park mound as he continues to rehab the hyperextended left knee that landed him on the disabled list last week.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Buchholz tossed 48 pitches Sunday, prior to the series finale with the Tigers.

"Physically, he came out of it fine," Farrell said. "No issues with the knee."

Farrell was hesitant to say when the next step, probably a rehab assignment, would come for the 29-year-old righty. But both Farrell and Buchholz agreed that game action is essential to getting Buchholz back on the right track. In 10 starts this season, he's 2-4 with a 7.02 ERA.

"It's all about being out there in game situations, and [Sunday] was the most like a game situation I've been in since the last time I started," Buchholz said. "This is something that's going to get me moving forward."

According to Farrell, all four of the pitches Buchholz featured Sunday (fastball, cutter, curveball, changeup) "had what you'd expect their definition to be, and the shape to them."

Buchholz played up the importance of keeping his body moving freely during his delivery. In comparing video of himself pitching this season to previous years, he's noticed that tension has taken a toll on his mechanics.

"I've been really tense, " he said, "throwing a lot of pitches under high stress. Last year, it was a flowing delivery rather than herky-jerky."

Buchholz added that the fix to that problem stems from confidence.

"Knowing what pitch I'm going to throw and how I'm going to throw it, and where it's going to go."

Red Sox working way through up-and-down period

BOS@DET: Pierzynski discusses Lester's outing

DETROIT -- Last month, during a trip to Minnesota, the Red Sox stopped off at the Mall of America and rode a roller coaster.

They haven't gotten off yet.

Since that series with the Twins, Boston had either swept or been swept in all six of its series entering Sunday's series finale, counting a four-game, home-and-home set with the Braves as one series.

A loss to the Tigers on Sunday night would make it seven straight swept series. Over that span, they've lost 10 straight, won seven consecutive games and, entered Sunday on a five-game skid.

"This is something that our team is not familiar with, given what we did last year," manager John Farrell.

Farrell, in his eighth season on a Major League coaching staff, hasn't seen anything like it.

"Personally I've never been involved with a team that's had extremes, particularly over a three-week period, as we have," Farrell said. "The one thing that's still a constant through all of this is the effort and competitiveness that we show."

Farrell cited Saturday night's ninth inning, when the Red Sox staged a rally that wasn't quite big enough to reverse the sweeping trend, as an example of the effort his club has shown.

Worth noting

• The Red Sox activated first baseman Mike Napoli from the 15-day disabled list prior to Sunday's game. To make room for Napoli on the 25-man roster, outfielder/first baseman Alex Hassan was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket following last night's game.