Matt Stone- Boston Herald
RED SOX- In all honestly, for all the attention the series between the two best teams in the American league received coming into Wednesday night's nationally televised rubber game, I'm a little surprised it didn't receive even more attention.
The Red Sox got on the board early thanks to a 2-run Stephen Drew homer that wrapped around the Pesky Pole in the bottom of the second before Detroit got on the board with a Torii Hunter groundout that plated former Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias in the top of the 3rd. With a runner on second, Detroit took the lead on a two out Prince Fielder homer that followed a similar trajectory as Drew's 2nd inning homer to put the Tigers up 3-2.
Ellsbury knotted the score up at 3-3 with a one out solo homer that- AGAIN- made its way around the Pesky Pole. However, Dempster looked like he was struggling a bit when he loaded up the bases with only one away in the top of the fourth. Iglesias hit the ball to short and the runner was out at second, but Iglesias was quick enough to beat the throw to first to keep the inning going and allow the run to score, putting Detroit up 4-3.
That would turn out the be the last time Detroit would have the lead for the night. In the bottom of the 4th, David Ortiz led off the inning with a solo shot to right field [the first homer that DIDN'T wrap around the Pesky Pole that night- NANESB!] for career hit number 1,999 to tie things back up at 4-4.
Aside from a walk to Prince Fielder, Dempster seemed to settle back down in the fifth inning. In the bottom half of the frame, the Red Sox re-took the lead with a Dustin Pedroia sac fly to put Boston on top 5-4. However, the score wouldn't remain that way for very long.
After a 1-2-3 inning from Dempster, Tigers starter Rick Porcello had to face the Red Sox bats once again. He led off the inning by walking Daniel Nava and then gave up a double to Mike Napoli before it was decided to intentionally walk Stephen Drew to load the bases. Mike Carp pinch-hit for David Ross and drew a bases loaded walk to make it 6-4 with nobody out. Tigers manager Jim Leyland the decided to pull Porcello and bring Albuquerque out of the bullpen [I remain convinced Albuquerque is pitching under an assumed name- NANESB!]. Facing Will Middlebrooks as his first batter, Albuquerque served up a grand slam over the Monster seats and onto Landsdowne Street on only his second pitch to break the game open and put Boston up 10-4. But would you believe that wasn't even the highlight of the inning?
Albuquerque managed to get Ellsbury to strike out before hitting Victorino with a pitch- Pawtucket callup Quentin Berry would pinch-run for Victorino. Pedroia would get caught looking at strike three for the second out of the inning, bringing up Big Papi.
David Ortiz notches career hit #2000 with that RBI double and makes it an 11-4 lead. A visibly emotional Big Papi acknowledged the crowd as they gave him a standing ovation for that milestone, but the Red Sox still weren't finished up in the 6th inning. Daniel Nava homered to deep center to bring home Big Papi and make it 13-4 before Jeremy Bonderman came out of the Tigers bullpen to strike out Mike Napoli and finally end the Red Sox rally.
There would be more- MUCH more- as the Red Sox would score a total of 17 unanswered runs and steamroll over Detroit by a final of 20-4. The eight homers hit by Red Sox bats ties a club record while the 20 runs is an MLB high for the 2013 season. David Ortiz goes 3-5 with 2 homers and 4 RBIs while Will Middlebrooks went 3-5 with 1 homer and 4 RBI. Dempster threw six complete innings, getting plenty of run support by the time the bottom half of the 6th wrapped up.
After sweeping the White Sox, the Red Sox take two out of three from the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers [who, despite last night's thumping, still boast the second best record in the American League- NANESB!] on their next-to-last homestand of the regular season.
On Thursday night, the Red Sox will travel to Yankee Stadium to take on the Bronx Bombers who are still in Wild Card contention. Ivan Nova [8-4; 2.88 ERA] will get the start against Jake Peavy [11-5; 3.91 ERA]. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 ET and the game will be televised on both NESN and the MLB network.