Four Real? Sox clock Rox 9-25-13

Will Middlebrooks had a pair of homers and seven RBI in Boston's 15-5
rout of the Rockies Wednesday at Coors Field (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Jan-Christian Sorensen Contributing Writer

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled Todd Helton love-in to bring you a breaking-news bulletin.

The Red Sox trounced the Colorado Rockies 15-5 Wednesday night to improve to 96-63 on the year and take a two-game lead over Oakland (94-65) in the quest for home-field advantage in the playoffs with three games still to play before the curtain closes on the regular season.

Helton, playing his final game at Coors Field after a 17-year career spent in Colorado, was honored before first pitch with an on-field ceremony, and made the most of his curtain call, going 2 for 3 with a homer and three RBI.

The Red Sox answered back, however. With authority.

Will Middlebrooks had a banner night at the dish, hitting a pair of homers — one of them of the grand-slam variety in the eighth inning — and driving in seven runs, while Shane Victorino also chimed in with a three-run bomb and Jarrod Saltalamacchia went 4 for 5 with another three RBI as Boston out-hit the Rox 16-10.

Centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury returned to his leadoff spot in the lineup after a 16-game absence due to a compression fracture in his right foot and looked healthy, going 1 for 2 with a walk and scoring twice. 

BoSox starter Jake Peavy lasted six innings and gave up five runs on eight hits while walking four and striking out five to pick up the win and move to 4-1 as a member of the Red Sox and 12-5 overall with a 4.17 ERA in 2013. He also rapped his first double since 2008 in the game and came around to score a run in the fourth. Junichi Tazawa, Franklin Morales, Craig Breslow and repurposed starter Ryan Dempster combined to toss three innings of scoreless relief the rest of the way. 

Jhoulys Chacin took the loss to fall to 14-10, giving up seven runs on nine hits in only four innings of work, while Roy Oswalt came on and served up another five runs on four hits in an inning out of the bullpen.

In grabbing their 96th win of the year, Boston tied the 1978 Red Sox for the team’s second-most wins in a season.

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

1) Salty Dog: In the third with the Sox holding a one-run lead, Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled his right to score Daniel Nava to give Boston a 4-2 lead.

2) Domo Arigato, Nolan Arenado: In the home half of the third, Nolan Arenado tied up the game at 4-4 with a ground-rule double to right-center field that scored Josh Rutledge.

3) Walk of Shane: In the fourth, Shane Victorino ripped a line-drive homer to left for his 15th of the season, driving in Jake Peavy and Jacoby Ellsbury ahead of him and giving the Sox a 7-4 lead.

4) Will the Thrill: One inning later, Will Middlebrooks followed Victorino’s lead, crushing a slider from reliever Rob Scahill deep to right to drive in three runs and put the Red Sox up 10-4.

Boston has an off-day Thursday as they travel back to the East Coast and get set for the final three-game series of the regular season, which opens in Baltimore on Friday. Clay Buchholz (11-1, 1.60 ERA) gets the ball in Game One against Scott Feldman, who is 5-5 with a 3.57 ERA in 2013. First pitch goes at 7:05 EST.

Twitter: @jan_doh