The Red Sox scored a season-high 11 runs in a victory Wednesday after being swept in a doubleheader a day prior. The bulk of Boston's damage came in the bottom of the eighth, when it sent 12 men to the plate and scored seven times to make the contest a blowout.
Wednesday's offensive explosion seemed a long time coming for Boston, which has struggled on offense a year after leading the league in runs scored. All season the Red Sox have seemed close to hanging a crooked number on an opponent before ultimately falling flat.
Such was the case in the tail end of Tuesday's doubleheader, when Boston left 13 men on base and went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position in a 4-2 defeat. So it was a relief to finally break through Wednesday, albeit in a game where the team already had a 4-1 lead late.
"We were kind of talking about it, joking about it today in the (indoor) cage. We were like, 'This is the first night we've actually had it like this. Last year, it felt like we had a lot like these," J.D. Martinez, who had three hits in the win, said. "This is the first one. It's good."
Martinez became the third player in team history to get a hit in 23 of its first 25 games, joining Shea Hillenbrand in 2001 and Eddie Bressoud in 1964. Among other positives for Boston: Mookie Betts has four multi-hit games in his last six contests, and Christian Vazquez has driven in 11 runs in his last 10 games.
On the other side, the Tigers scuffled offensively in Wednesday's loss, getting just two hits in the first seven innings. Detroit tacked on three runs in the ninth but fell well short to snap a three-game winning streak.
"I told (the players), 'We've won two out of three in Boston, and we have a chance to win three out of four tomorrow. So forget about this one. It's over with. We've got a chance to win three out of four here; let's do it,'" Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said.
For Zimmermann, who has lost each of his last three starts after giving up five runs in 6 1/3 innings against the Chicago White Sox last time out, Fenway Park brings few good memories. He is 0-1 with a 7.04 ERA in three starts at the ballpark and 2-1 with a 4.45 ERA in five starts against the Red Sox overall.
Meanwhile, Porcello showed signs of turning his poor start around when he allowed just two runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays in his last outing. He walked only one batter after issuing 12 base on balls in his first 11 1/3 innings.
Porcello is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts against the Tigers, with whom he pitched from 2009-14. He'll look to cool off former teammate Miguel Cabrera, who enters the contest riding a 10-game hitting streak.
--Field Level Media