The Tigers had an early 3-0 lead through three innings behind runs batted in by Delmon Young, Danny Worth and Prince Fielder, but the Red Sox -- David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks -- hit a pair of two-run jacks against Drew Smyly in the fourth inning to take a 4-3 lead.
The Tigers would tie the game on an RBI "double" by Miguel Cabrera in the seventh, but Boston responded in the bottom half once again and then tacked on one more on a solo home run by Kevin Youkilis in the eighth off Joaquin Benoit.
Octavio Dotel takes the loss for the run he allowed in the seventh on an Adrian Gonzalez ground-rule double. Matt Albers gets the win for the Sox and Alfredo Aceves, working his fourth straight game, picked up his 13th save of the season.
Miguel Cabrera led the Tigers with a 4-for-5 effort at the plate with three doubles.
The final game of the four-game set is Thursday night at 7:10 p.m. ET.