Four Real? Red Sox vs Tigers 9-4-13

David Ortiz notched his 2,000th career hit and launched two homers
in Boston's 20-4 rout of Detroit at Fenway on Wednesday.

Jan-Christian Sorensen Contributing Writer

The Red Sox raked Detroit pitching for eight home runs in a 20-4 rout during the rubber match of the three-game series at Fenway Park on Wednesday, but none of the hits were bigger than David Ortiz’s double in the sixth.

Big Papi's two-bagger off reliever Al Alburquerque drove in Boston’s 11th run of the night, but more importantly, marked his 2,000th hit in the major leagues.

But Big Papi, who hit a solo homer earlier on, wasn’t done yet.

In his very next at-bat in the seventh, Ortiz jacked another bomb — a two-run shot for his 26th of the year and 427th of his career, tying him with Mike Piazza for 47th on the all-time list — beyond the bullpen in center for his 2,001st hit and his 88th and 89th RBI.

The eight homers tie a club record and are the most the Red Sox have hit in a game this season since they went deep six times April 7 at Toronto in a 13-0 rout of the Jays.

Will Middlebrooks, who went deep three times during that six-homer game in Toronto, played the hero for the second night in a row, going 3 for 5 with a grand slam, while Ortiz also went 3 for 5 with another four RBI. Daniel Nava, Stephen Drew, Quintin Berry and Ryan Lavarnway also chipped in with two RBI apiece.

Nava ran his streak of reaching base in consecutive starts to 39 with a single in the second. It’s the longest active stretch for a Boston player since Kevin Youkilis cobbled together a string of 44 in 2008.

The victory also secured the fifth straight series win for the Red Sox.

Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster — facing the Tigers for the first time in seven years — easily got credited with the win, going six innings and giving up four runs on six hits while walking two and striking out seven to move to 8-9 on the year with a 4.79 ERA. Brandon Workman, Franklin Morales and Rubby De La Rosa combined for three innings of scoreless relief.

Tigers starter Rick Porcello was battered like a piece of deep-fried cod by Boston hitters, giving up nine runs — eight earned — on seven hits over five innings, walking four and serving up three home runs to fall to 11-8 on the year. His relief corps didn’t fare any better: Alburquerque came on to surrender four earned runs on three hits and two homers in just two-thirds of an inning, Jeremy Bonderman was tagged for five earned runs and another two homers in an inning of work and Evan Reed allowed another two runs and a homer in an inning and a third.

Some saving grace for Detroit fans: while the Sox took the game by sixteen runs, the Tigers claimed the season series 4-3.

Here are the four at-bats that changed the game:

1) Right, Fielder: With Austin Jackson at second base and two down in the third, Prince Fielder crushed a hanging slider from Dempster deep to right for his 22nd home run of the year and his fourth homer off Dempster lifetime to give the Tigers a 3-2 advantage.

2) Right Back In It: In the home half of the third, Jacoby Ellsbury — who entered the game 6 for 7 lifetime against Porcello with a home run — deposited a Porcello changeup into the first row of seats just fair of the Pesky Pole in right field to tie the game 3-3.

3) Bleacher Feaster: With the Tigers up 4-3 in the fourth, Ortiz hit a solo shot off Porcello deep into the bleachers beyond the bullpen in center field to knot the score, pick up his 1,999th career hit and notch homer No. 25 of the season — his first since Aug. 17.

4) Wrong Turn At Alburquerque: The Red Sox were up 6-4 in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded and none out when Middlebrooks launched an Alburquerque pitch over the Monster to clear the bags, bring home four and give Boston a six-run advantage.

With the win, the American League East Division-leading Red Sox (84-57) maintain their 5.5-game lead over the second-place Tampa Bay Rays, who defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 3-1 later Wednesday night on the West Coast.

Tomorrow, Jake Peavy (3-1, 3.18 ERA) gets the start when the Red Sox travel to the Bronx to take on their resurgent rival Yankees for four games before heading to St. Petersburg for three against the Rays. Peavy will face off against Ivan Nova, who is 8-4 with a 2.88 ERA this season for New York. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. EST.

Twitter: @jan_doh