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Detroit Tigers Bullpen Shelled In 20-4 Loss Against Boston Red Sox

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DETROIT TIGERS
BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 4: Tigers second baseman Hernan Perez is pictured as the scoreboard tells the story behind him, as the Red Sox have just went ahead 20-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning, and that would be the final score as Boston takes two out of three games against the Tigers. By doing so they take over as the team with the best record in the American League. The Boston Red Sox hosted the Detroit Tigers in a regular season MLB game at Fenway Park. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via | Getty

BOSTON — Detroit manager Jim Leyland went to a guy that he thought was the best choice to get a strikeout.

Two pitches later, the Red Sox were on their way to a rout.

Will Middlebrooks hit Al Alburquerque's second pitch for a grand slam to spark an eight-run sixth inning that carried AL East-leading Boston to a 20-4 win over the Tigers on Wednesday night.

"Alburquerque's usually a guy that can get a strikeout," Leyland said. "He missed with a slider and then he had to come in with a fastball."

And out it went – over the Green Monster, pushing Boston ahead 10-4.

Rick Porcello (11-8) gave up nine runs – eight of them earned – on seven hits and four walks in five-plus innings. After walking pinch hitter Mike Carp to force in a run, Alburquerque entered.

"I don't really like to see any pitchers get beat up like we did tonight. I didn't think Ricky pitched that bad that he takes a statistical hit with his ERA," Leyland said. "They were hitting them out like ping pong balls. (Mike) Napoli, a right-handed hitter, hit one out to right field. We didn't pitch well and they smoked them."

David Ortiz hit two of Boston's eight homers and also doubled for his 2,000th career hit for the Red Sox.

Ortiz had an RBI double to reach the milestone and Daniel Nava added a two-run homer when Boston pulled away in the sixth inning.

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.

Boston has won nine of 11, taking two out of three from the Central-leading Tigers to hold onto the best record in the league. But 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.

"We lost 2-1 yesterday and 20-whatever-it-was. It's still a loss," Tigers DH Victor Martinez said. "No matter how big of a difference, it's still a loss." Something we've been doing the last couple of years is – turn the page and come back tomorrow."

Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew, Napoli and Ryan Lavarnway also homered for the Red Sox.

"That's a real good hitting club," Leyland said. "Once they got hot, it got contagious."

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 New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez.

The Red Sox open a four-game series with the Yankees in New York on Thursday night.

Ortiz homered in the fourth to tie the game 4-all, 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 home 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 with a strained abdominal muscle. A reigning triple crown winner, Cabrera leads the majors again with a .355 average with 130 RBIs and is four behind Baltimore's Chris Davis with 43 homers.

Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias, who was acquired from Boston at the trading deadline, left in the fifth inning with pain in his shins.

Shane Victorino singled with one out in the fifth, stole second and took third when catcher Alex Avila threw the ball into center field. On the 11th pitch of his at-bat, Dustin Pedroia hit a sinking line drive that left fielder Andy Dirks caught just off the grass but he could not keep Victorino from tagging up and scoring to make it 5-4.

The Red Sox blew it open with eight in the sixth thanks to a bases-loaded walk, two homers and Ortiz's double. They added two more in the eighth to make it 20-4.

NOTES: The only other time the Red Sox have hit eight homers in a game was July 4, 1977, against Toronto at Fenway Park. ... Nava has reached base safely in 39 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the majors. ... The Chicago Cubs, run by former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, claimed former Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard off waivers. ... Boston manager John Farrell said Clay Buchholz's wife gave birth to a daughter. The right-hander will resume his rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket in Rochester on Thursday night before joining the Red Sox in New York. ... Porcello had allowed three or fewer runs in 10 of his last 11 starts. But in his career he is 1-3 with a 10.42 ERA against the Red Sox. ... Victorino went over the short wall along the first-base line to retire Austin Jackson and end the fourth inning. Victorino then returned what appeared to be a cellphone to a woman in the front row.

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