BOSTON - Baseball's scariest 1-2 punch delivered in the fifth inning at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, allowing the Detroit Tigers to end a shaky road trip with a win.
Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder hit back-to-back Aaron Cook curveballs for home runs to produce the last three runs of a five-run inning that powered the Detroit Tigers to a 7-5 victory over Boston.
The win was only the second in the last seven games for the Tigers, who finished a 3-6 road trip by averting a sweep of the three-game series.
"Those guys are awful good, right in the middle ... they're pretty good at doing what they do and tonight they did what they do," manager Jim Leyland said. "Back-to-back home runs; there's no defense for it. It was good to see. They both broke out a little bit. Just huge hits."
Cabrera came through with a man on, blasting a 2-2 pitch out of Fenway for his 26th homer (and his major league-leading 86th and 87th RBIs) of the year. Fielder, who doubled earlier, followed with No. 17 to chase Cook.
"They're awful good," Leyland said. "When we get rolling pretty good that's a pretty good 3-4 combination. That's probably as good as anybody in baseball, obviously ... they're impressive to watch and tonight they came up big."
It was the only home run of the series for both. For Cabrera, the shot continued a 75-game run that has seen him bat .347, with 24 doubles, 19 homers and 65 RBIs. Fielder hasn't exactly been chilly, hitting .322 with 19 doubles, a triple, 12 homers and 58 RBIs over his last 71 games.
Cabrera drove in 14 runs in the 10-game season series with Boston.
"He thought he could bounce a curveball and he didn't bounce it and the big boy deposited it," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said of the Cabrera homer that helped to end Boston's four-game winning streak.
Cabrera's power also impressed Cook, who fell to 2-5 by losing his fourth consecutive decision (his last win was June 29).
"The biggest problem was hanging a breaking ball to one of the best hitters in the game," Cook said. "He had a long at bat and I tried to do something a little different. I hung a curveball. That's what he's supposed to do with that type of pitch.
"When I'm making bad pitches to the best hitters in the game and just leaving them up, they did exactly what they were supposed to do with those pitches."
Last week, Leyland called Cabrera, "The best hitter in baseball, in my opinion." Wednesday night, he said, "He's just a great hitter. I mean both those guys are really. ... They're both power hitters but they're also both very good hitters. They can hit doubles, base hits, home runs. ... That's why both of them are great hitters. If you can put guys on base in front of them, that's pretty strenuous on a pitcher."
The back-to-back homers marked the third time this season (second time on the road trip) Cabrera and Fielder pulled it off, the fifth time for the Tigers as a team.
The Tigers, who trail the White Sox by 2 1/2 games for the Central Division lead, had a 6-1 lead after the homers and held off a charge that saw the Sox close to within 6-5 on Carl Crawford's solo homer in the seventh. Delmon Young hit his 12th home run in the eighth for an insurance run.
Rick Porcello, 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA in three previous career starts against the Red Sox, worked 5 2/3 innings to raise his record to 8-6. After reliever Phil Coke faltered, three innings of perfect relief from Octavio Dotel, Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde (two strikeouts) nailed it down, with Valverde earning his 21st save.
Leyland called Dotel "Kind of an unsung hero again tonight," for coming in and putting a stop to the Red Sox charge.
"It's a nice way to go home, have a day off and get back to work at Comerica (Park)," said Leyland. "Good win for us."
NOTES: After earning the victory in relief Tuesday night, right-hander Clayton Mortensen was sent to the minors, making room for Craig Breslow, who was acquired from Arizona. Breslow started his second tour with the Red Sox in relief Wednesday night. The Red Sox also placed Daniel Nava (both wrists) on the disabled list and recalled catcher Ryan Lavarnway from Class AAA Pawtucket. He was needed because catcher Kelly Shoppach fouled a ball off his shin Tuesday night. Nava is the 23rd player (a total of 27 transactions) disabled by Boston this season. ... Boston's Mike Aviles (toe) missed his fourth consecutive game, while David Ortiz (Achilles' tendon), eligible to come off the DL Wednesday, reported improvement but isn't quite ready. ... Leyland flip-flopped Boesch (from No. 6 to 5) and Young, both struggling, in the lineup and both came through. ... The Red Sox host the Twins for four games, starting Thursday night, while the Tigers, who finished a nine-game road trip, have a day off before hosting the Indians on Friday night. Newly acquired Anibal Sanchez makes his second Tigers start Friday night. ... Former Red Sox pitcher Bill Monbouquette threw out the first pitch, commemorating the 50th anniversary of his 1962 no-hitter. The pitch was caught by Clay Buchholz, who threw one 45 years later.