BOSTON – It was as far from the pitchers’ duels of the first two games in the series. Instead, the Red Sox delivered a thorough pummeling of the Tigers Wednesday night at Fenway Park, bashing their way to a 20-4 win.
The Sox offense pounded 19 hits including a team record-tying eight home runs, including two by David Ortiz and grand slam by Will Middlebrooks. The 20 runs scored were a season-high.
The eight home runs matched a team record set on July 4, 1977 at Fenway against the Blue Jays. With seven different players hitting home runs the Sox also set a team record.
The home run barrage was led by Ortiz with two, -- a two-run shot in seventh and solo homer in fourth -- Middlebrooks added his grand slam, with two-run shots by Stephen Drew and Ryan Lavarnway, and solo shots by Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Napoli
Ortiz went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and four RBI. His 2000th career hit, an RBI double in the eighth, was sandwiched between his lead-off home run in the fourth and his two-run home run in seventh.
The Sox led by a run going into the sixth, when the blasted the game open. Eleven batters went to the plate. They matched a season-high with eight runs scored in the inning, on four hits, two home runs, three walks (one intentional), and a hit batter.
Middlebrooks’ slam -- the second of his career, along with one on May 6, 2012, against the Orioles, and the fifth by the Sox this season -- highlighted the inning.
Middlebrooks went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBI.
Ryan Dempster was the beneficiary of the offensive outburst, earning the win to improve to 8-9 with a 4.79 ERA. He went six innings, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts and a home run. He threw 100 pitches, 64 for strikes.
Rick Porcello took the loss. He went five innings, plus four batters in the sixth, giving up nine runs, eight earned, on seven this and four walks (one intentional), with four strikeouts, three home runs and a hit batter.
The Sox drove Porcello, as well as reliever Al Albuquerque, from the game in the sixth, with Jeremy Bonderman coming in for the last out. But, the Sox rocked Bonderman for five runs in the seventh, including two-run homers by Lavarnway and Ortiz.
Napoli’s lead-off home run in the eighth made it 19-4 and was the Sox eighth of the game.
STAR OF THE GAME: David Ortiz
Ortiz went 3-for-5 with a double, two home runs, three runs scored, and four RBI. His RBI double in the sixth inning was the 2,000th hit of his career. He is one of three active players with at least 2,000 hits, 400 home runs, and 1,400 RBI, along with Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez.
It was his 41st career multi-home run game, and his 39th as a member of the Red Sox, extending his team record.
With 427 career homers, he moved past Billy Williams and into a tie with Mike Piazza for 46th place on the all-time list. With 26 home runs this season, Ortiz now has nine seasons with at least 25 home runs, all with the Red Sox. That's second on the team’s all-time list behind Ted Williams’ 14 seasons of 25 or more homers.
HONORABLE MENTION: Will Middlebrooks
Middlebrooks went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBI on his sixth-inning grand slam. It was the second grand slam of his career. The other was the first home run of his career, on May 6, 2012, against the Orioles. It was the fifth grand slam by the Sox this season.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Rick Porcello
Given a lead twice by his offense, Porcello gave it back both times, until he collapsed in the sixth inning. He took the loss, falling to 11-8, going five innings, plus four batters in the sixth, giving up nine runs, matching a career high, eight earned runs, on seven this and four walks (one intentional), with four strikeouts, a career-high three home runs and a hit batter. He left the game with the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth.
THE TURNING POINT: The Sox led by one run going into the sixth inning. Their eight-run outburst in the sixth was more than enough to seal the win.
BY THE NUMBERS: The eight home runs by the Sox match the team’s single-game record, July 4, 1977 against the Blue Jays, at Fenway Park.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "It was like lighting a firework...and it seemed like the fireworks just keep on coming." -- Ortiz on the Red Sox’ offensive explosion