Eric Hinske took one on the chin and then delivered the knockout punch for the Boston Red Sox.
The backup right fielder slammed his face into the ground while making a run-saving catch, and hit a go-ahead homer two innings later to give the Red Sox a 4-2 win Thursday night and a doubleheader sweep of the Detroit Tigers.
Of his two hits, Hinske preferred the second ``because it didn't hurt,'' he said with a smile.
Making a rare start in place of injured right fielder J.D. Drew, Hinske hit his first homer of the season, a 2-run shot off Wilfredo Ledezma (3-1) into Boston's bullpen in right-center field, to break a 2-2 tie in the 7th inning. Boston won the opener 2-1 behind starter Julian Tavarez's most effective game of the season.
``When you have a team this deep, you can do some pretty special things,'' said Curt Schilling, who struggled as the second-game starter. ``Today, with Julian in the first game and the bullpen, and tonight with Hinske taking the team by the horns.''
With Boston trailing 2-1 and Detroit's Marcus Thames on 2nd with 2-outs in the 5th, Mike Rabelo hit a fly ball that the wind carried away from Hinske. He dived parallel to the ground and held the ball despite hitting the warning track chin-first. He stayed down for a short time before trotting off the field to an ovation.
Rabelo called it ``the most amazing catch I've ever seen.''
The dirt, ``was all in my eyes, in my mouth,'' Hinske said. ``I was OK. In my mind, unless you've got to carry me off on a stretcher (he'll play). I don't get the chance to play that often.''
The sweep increased Boston's lead in the AL East over the second-place New York Yankees to 9 1/2 games. The last time the Yankees, who lost to Chicago 4-1, were that far back was after games of Sept. 6, 1997.
In other AL games, it was: Cleveland 2, Minnesota 0; Kansas City 7, Oakland 4; Tampa Bay 8, Texas 6 in 10 innings; and Los Angeles 7, Seattle 3.
At Boston, Brendan Donnelly (2-1) pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings and Hideki Okajima got his second save, extending his streak of scoreless innings to 19 2-3.
In the opener, Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis drove in runs for the AL East leaders. With his 1,541th RBI, Ramirez moved past Willie Stargell into sole possession of 38th place.
Tavarez (2-4), who lost three of his previous four starts, allowed 1-run, 4-singles and 4-walks and 7-innings. Okajima pitched a perfect 8h, and Jonathan Papelbon finished the 4-hitter for his 11th save.
Zach Miner (0-1) gave up 2-runs _ 1-earned _ and 6-hits in 5 1-3 innings in an emergency start for the Tigers.
White Sox 4, Yankees 1
Jon Garland (3-2) limited visiting New York to a run and 6-hits over 7-innings and Jermaine Dye homered and had 4-RBIs for Chicago.
Chicago's victory came a day after the teams split a day-night doubleheader at U.S. Cellular Field and a day before they both were to start a spirited interleague series. The White Sox are at Wrigley Field on Friday for a three-game series with the Cubs, while the Yankees head to Shea Stadium to play the Mets.
Matt DeSalvo (1-1) lasted only 3 1-3 innings in his third major league start, giving up 6-hits and 4-runs.
Indians 2, Twins 0
Cleveland's Fausto Carmona outpitched Johan Santana again, and Victor Martinez and Ryan Garko homered in a three-pitch span off Minnesota's ace in the 7th inning.
Carmona (5-1) allowed 4-hits for his first career shutout and complete game, a 121-pitch performance that beat Santana (4-4) for the second time in less than a month.
The Indians swept the three-game home series and improved to 5-0 this season against one of their AL Central rivals. The Twins have lost seven of eight.
Royals 7, Athletics 4
Scott Elarton got his first victory since last July and slumping Mike Sweeney had a pair of hits for Kansas City.
The visiting Royals, who were 0-10 when opponents started lefties, got to Dallas Braden (1-3) early. Making his fourth major league start, Braden allowed 5-runs and 6-hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Elarton (1-0) gave up 4-runs and 6-hits in 5 1-3 innings, getting his first win since July 16 at Detroit. Joakim Soria finished for his eighth save.
Bobby Crosby homered as the A's lost two in a row for the first time since ending a three-game slide on April 28.
Devil Rays 8, Rangers 6, 10 innings
Delmon Young's second homer of the night, a 2-run shot in the bottom of the 10th, helped Tampa Bay extend its season-high winning streak to four games.
Young's winning homer off Willie Eyre (1-2) completed a successful trip to Disney World, where the series was played as part of the Devil Rays' effort to expand their fan base and increase marketing opportunities in the Orlando area.
Gary Glover (1-2) pitched the 10th to earn the victory for Tampa Bay, which hadn't won four in a row since last May 18-21.
Angels 7, Mariners 3
Vladimir Guerrero homered for the first time in 12 games and drove in 3-runs, and Bartolo Colon stayed undefeated as the visiting Los Angeles Angels beat former teammate Jarrod Washburn.
Colon (5-0) allowed 3-runs and 9-hits in 7-innings to help put Los Angeles a season-high six games over .500 entering its rivalry series this weekend against the Dodgers.
Washburn (3-4) allowed season highs of 9-hits and 6-runs in 6-innings against the Angels, for whom he played from 1998-2005.