Boston Red Sox's Jason Bay, left, is congratulated by a teammate after scoring the sixth run of the third inning in a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers Thursday, June 4, 2009 in Detroit. Bay also drove in two runs in the sixth with a bases-loaded double. The Red Sox beat the Tigers 6-3. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

The Boston Red Sox were able to take advantage of the wildness of Dontrelle Willis as they went on to a 6-3 win over the Detroit Tigers to complete a 3-game sweep in front of 31,353 at Comerica Park in Detroit.

It’s the fourth straight win for the Red Sox (32-22) and they stay tied for first in the AL East with the New York Yankees, who beat the Texas Rangers this afternoon. The Tigers drop to 28-24 but still remain on top of the AL Central.

Boston Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield, right, smiles at a comment from manager Terry Francona while being relieved in the seventh inning of a baseball game Thursday, June 4, 2009, in Detroit. Wakefield (7-3) has defeated the Tigers 16 times, more than any other active pitcher. The Red Sox won 6-3. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)Tim Wakefield started this one for the Red Sox and other than a rough time in the 2nd inning, pitched well enough to pick up his 7th win. He went 6 2/3 innings, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits and recorded 3 strikeouts. He didn’t walk anyone.

The Red Sox bullpen was solid as it has been all season long. Justin Masterson struck out the only two batters he faced while Hideki Okajima gave up a hit and struck out 1 in 2/3 of an inning. Jonathan Papelbon picked up his 14th save despite allowing a hit and a walk.

Willis looked good in the first two innings but became wild in the 3rd. He lasted just 2 1/3 innings, giving up 5 runs on 5 walks while striking out 3. And yes, he didn’t allow a hit.

Zach Miner took over for Willis and went 4 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 2 before leaving with an injury. Ryan Perry worked 2/3 of an inning while Joel Zumaya, he of the 101 MPH fastball this afternoon, gave up 2 hits and a walk while striking out 1. Tigers closer Fernando Rodney worked the 9th, giving up a walk and striking out 1.

The Red Sox had just 6 hits in the game with Mike Lowell having 2 of them and adding an RBI as well. Jason Bay’s one hit was a 2-run double while Rocco Baldelli’s hit was good for an RBI single. Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury had the other hits for the Red Sox. J.D. Drew reached base four times via the walk and picked up an RBI. Kevin Youkilis also had an RBI before leaving the game for precautionary reasons with a tight right calf.

Wakefield had set the side down in order in the 1st inning but the Tigers came through with 3 runs in the 2nd.

Miguel Cabrera led off with a single and Curtis Granderson followed with a single as Cabrera pulled up lame at second with an apparent hamstring injury. After a visit from the medical staff, Cabrera stayed in the game and then had to run home on a double from Brandon Inge that also scored Granderson to put the Tigers up 2-0. A Ryan Raburn ground out moved Inge to third and he came around to score on an Adam Everett ground out. Wakefield got out of the inning by striking out Dane Sardinha.

Despite walking one in the first two innings, Willis was in complete control until a few calls didn’t go his way in the 3rd. Those non-calls seem to fluster him as he lost the command of his pitches.

Detroit Tigers starter Dentrelle Willis stands with his head down after seeing manager Jim Leyland head for the mound in the third inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Thursday, June 4, 2009, in Detroit. Willis had issued a bases-loaded walk to Boston's Kevin Youkilis just before he was pulled from the game. The Red Sox beat the Tigers 6-3. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)He started the inning by hitting Ellsbury with a pitch. He then walked Julio Lugo but recovered to strikeout George Kottaras. Willis followed the strikeout up with a walk to Pedroia and then walked Drew to force in a run. Another bases loaded walk to Youkilis ended his afternoon as he departed with a 3-2 lead.

After the pitching change, Tigers skipper Jim Leyland was tossed for arguing balls and strikes. It was nice to see him defend his pitcher because even I thought some of the calls should have been strikes.

Miner came in and was greeted by Bay’s double that scored Pedroia and Drew to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead. A Lowell ground out scored Youk to push the lead to 5-3 as Bay went to third. Baldelli followed the Lowell ground out with a single to score Bay and give the Red Sox the 6-3 lead.

And that’s how it stayed for the rest of the game. The Red Sox did have a chance to bust it open in the 8th when they loaded up the bases against Zumaya with no outs. He was able to escape though as he got Lugo to ground into a fielder’s choice, struck out Kottaras and finished it off by getting Pedroia to ground out.

The win was a very nice way to end the road trip as they finished it up at 6-4. This new look lineup that skipper Terry Francona has employed has been getting the job done. Plus the starting pitching has seemed to turn a corner.

The Red Sox now head home for a 7-day, 6-game homestand that brings in the AL West-leading Texas Rangers and the Yankees. First up is the Rangers though as Brad Penny will toe the rubber for the Red Sox tomorrow night while Kevin Millwood gets the start for the Rangers.

Notes and musings:

Boston Red Sox @ Detroit Tigers 6.4.09 box score

John Smoltz, who has been on the 15-day DL since April 4 (retro to March 27) while recovering from right shoulder surgery, is scheduled to make his 4th rehab start tomorrow for Triple-A Pawtucket vs. Louisville (Reds). He started for Single-A Greenville vs. Charleston on Sunday, allowing one run on 4 hits with 6 K’s over 5.0 innings. He is 0-0 with a 1.59 ERA (2 ER/11.1 IP) in 3 total rehab starts.

Jonathan Papelbon now has 127 career saves, 5 shy of tying Bob Stanley’s 132 for the Red Sox career record. Since 2006, only the Mets’ Francisco Rodriguez (163) and Milwaukee’s Trevor Hoffman (132) have more saves than Papelbon (127).

Hideki Okajima has not allowed a run in his last 16.1 innings, passing Ramon Ramirez (15.0 IP) for the team season high.

Tim Wakefield now has 16 career wins against the Tigers and that’s most amongst active pitchers. Chicago White Sox lefty Mark Buehrle is next on the list with 14.

The Red Sox are now 12-7 in day games this year.