BOSTON -- After splitting a pair of pitcher's duels, the Boston Red Sox broke out the heavy artillery and won the series against the Detroit Tigers with a 20-4 blowout Wednesday night.
The Red Sox tied a franchise record with eight home runs, including two by David Ortiz and a grand slam by Will Middlebrooks, in a potential playoff preview between the teams atop the American League standings.
By winning, the Red Sox, winners of five of their last six and nine of their last 11, closed a 7-2 homestand with the best record in the American League. They notched their 84th win, 15 more than last season -- and this is already the franchise's biggest season-to-season increase in wins (in nonstrike years) since the 1967 Impossible Dream team won 20 more games than the 1966 version.
Boston led 5-4 entering the bottom of the sixth on the strength of a two-run homer by Stephen Drew and solo shots by Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury off loser Rick Porcello (11-8).
The Red Sox offense exploded for eight runs in the sixth inning with the big blows being Middlebrooks' grand slam and Nava's two-run shot off Al Alburquerque.
But Boston was far from done.
Ryan Lavarnway hit his first homer of the season in the seventh, a two-run blast, and Ortiz added another two-run home run --- his 26th homer of the year.
Mike Napoli connected in the eighth.
Ortiz, who moved past Billy Williams and into 27th place on the all-time home run list, with 427, also stroked an RBI double in the sixth inning, the 2,000th hit of his career. His two homers were shots over the Red Sox bullpen.
The Red Sox had 13 extra base hits, scored in all seven innings after the first and had 15 runs in the last three. The eight homers were also a Sox Fenway Park record. Homers by seven players set a franchise record.
Ryan Dempster, who might have been making his last start with Clay Buchholz due back next week, gave up four runs in the first four innings but worked six and improved his record to 8-9.
Dempster gave up a two-run homer to Prince Fielder but the Tigers lost the series with Miguel Cabrera, who played Tuesday, out again with his core injury.
NOTES: Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias left the game in the fifth inning with bilateral shin splints. ... Cabrera, named American League player of the month, has missed four of the last five games. ... RHP Max Scherzer, who failed to join Roger Clemens as the only pitchers ever to start a season 20-1 with his tough loss Tuesday, was named AL pitcher of the month. He was also defended by his manager, Jim Leyland, who spoke out against a TV graphic that said Scherzer would have taken an 11-10 record to the mound Tuesday if he would have gotten little run support, like Boston's John Lackey. ... The Tigers open a three-game series in Kansas City Friday night, with Anibal Sanchez on the mound. The Red Sox send Jake Peavy out for the opener of a four-game series against the Yankees in New York Thursday night; the start of a seven-game road trip that moves on to Tampa Bay. ... Red Sox C Jarrod Saltalamacchia missed his second straight game and will likely miss at least one more with a sore back. ... Buchholz's wife delivered the couple's second daughter Wednesday and Buchholz will be in Rochester, N.Y., Thursday night to make his third and final rehab start.