BOSTON — One after another, the baseballs cleared the fences at Fenway Park – a franchise record-tying eight home runs for the Boston Red Sox.
And David Ortiz led the way.
Ortiz homered twice and also doubled for his 2,000th career hit Wednesday night to lead the Red Sox to a 20-4 romp over the Detroit Tigers.
“I’ve never really seen that many happy faces in the dugout at the same time,” said Ortiz, who was one of a franchise-record seven Red Sox batters to homer. “It was like lighting a firework. … I see everybody happy. It’s like the fireworks just keep on coming.”
Boston pulled away in an eight-run sixth inning when Will Middlebrooks hit a grand slam, Ortiz had an RBI double to reach 2,000 and Daniel Nava added a two-run homer. Ortiz homered again in the five-run seventh – the 427th of his career to move past Billy Williams and into 47th on baseball’s all-time home run list.
“Congratulations to David. That’s a heck of a milestone,” Tigers Manager Jim Leyland said. “I’m sure the Red Sox fans are proud of him and he’s proud of himself. He’s had a wonderful career and he’s popular here. A very kind man, really. I’m very happy for him. It came against the wrong team but that’s OK.”
AL East-leading Boston has won 9 of 11, taking 2 of 3 from the Central-leading Tigers to hold onto the best record in the league. After scores of 3-0 and 2-1 in the first two games of the series, the Red Sox burst out with a franchise record-tying eight homers and a season-high 20 runs.
The only other time the Red Sox hit eight homers in a game was July 4, 1977, against Toronto at Fenway Park
Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew, Mike Napoli and Ryan Lavarnway also homered as the Red Sox turned a game that was tied 4-4 after four innings into a blowout.
“Just a rare and outstanding offensive night tonight,” said Red Sox Manager John Farrell, who had Shane Victorino steal second in the fifth inning to try to get the go-ahead run in scoring position. “You think at that point you’re looking to somewhat manufacture a run any way you can. Little did we know it would turn out like it did. … We had no idea of what was about to take place shortly after that.”
Ryan Dempster (8-9) allowed four runs on six hits and two walks in six innings, striking out seven to win his second straight start since he was suspended for five games for intentionally hitting Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees.
Rick Porcello (11-8) gave up nine runs, eight earned, on seven hits and four walks in five-plus innings. He allowed three homers, Al Alburquerque gave up two, Jeremy Bonderman allowed two and Evan Reed gave up one.
“That was pretty ugly,” Leyland said. “Obviously we just didn’t do a good job of keeping the ball in the ballpark. The Green Monster’s one thing but you normally don’t see them going out to right field like that. They were hitting them out like ping pong balls.”
Ortiz homered in the fourth to make it 4-4, then added an RBI double in the sixth for hit No. 2,000. He waved his batting helmet as he stood on second base while the crowd cheered and plate umpire Jeff Kellogg helped the Red Sox dugout retrieve the ball.
Ortiz homered the next time up, prompting another standing ovation from the crowd at Fenway Park. The fans remained on their feet until he popped out of the dugout for a curtain call.
Prince Fielder homered for the Tigers, who were without Miguel Cabrera for the third time in four games while he contends with a strained abdominal muscle.