The Boston Red Sox seemed unlikely to blow out the Detroit Tigers on Sept. 4. Despite the Red Sox success, the Tigers aren’t a team that tends to get blown out, and they hadn’t been through the first five innings of their series finale. Yet eight runs in the sixth, five in the seventh and two in the eighth turned a 5-4 Boston lead into a 20-4 slaughter.
It wasn’t an ideal pitching night from the start, as Detroit touched Ryan Dempster for three third-inning runs and Boston scored in every inning but the first. Yet the game was well within the Tigers’ reach until the sixth, when the Red Sox blew it out on a bases loaded walk, a Will Middlebrooks grand slam, a David Ortiz RBI double and a two-run homer from Daniel Nava.
The Red Sox had already hit four home runs before the sixth, and two more blasts after that gave them a franchise record tying eight for the night. The end result was unbecoming of a showdown between the two top teams in the American League, although there is a bigger difference between them now.
By taking two of three games over the Tigers, the Red Sox have a 2 1/2 game lead for the best record in the AL. With the Tampa Bay Rays sliding, Boston also has a 5 1/2 game lead in the AL East, as one of baseball’s best divisions is starting to look pretty settled on top.
As for the Tigers, their two losses to the Red Sox and their three losses to the Oakland Athletics last week are causes for concern. With these defeats to potential playoff opponents and the concerns over Miguel Cabrera’s health, Detroit has to worry about how it looks going into October.
The Red Sox and Tigers have struggled to pull away in their divisions until recent weeks. Now that they look like safe bets for the postseason, they have bigger concerns to worry about -- although Boston certainly looked like it had a few things figured out.