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September 5, 2013

What You Need to Know

Night of the Long Flies

by Daniel Rathman


The Wednesday Takeaway
The 2012 Red Sox, eager to be put out of their misery and struggling to amass even a 7-19 record in September, hit only 16 homers during the entire month. The 2013 Red Sox, eager to secure the organization’s first East division title since 2007, produced half of that total in one night.

The rubber match between the Tigers and Red Sox was close for a while—tied 3-3 after three and 4-4 after four, and then 5-4 Boston after five. But in the next three frames, the home team plated 15 runs and the visitors earned none, turning the game into a 20-4 rout that flipped the run-differential tables and made all sorts of long-ball history.

Boston’s eight homers tied a franchise record set on Independence Day in 1977, when Fred Lynn and George Scott each went yard twice. David Ortiz—who also notched his 2,000th career hit in the contest—was the only member of the team who drilled two homers on Wednesday. Thus, a franchise-high seven players contributed at least one big fly. Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Lavarnway, Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli, and Daniel Nava each added to Ortiz’s pair.

According to the Baseball-Reference Play Index, there have been 18 occasions since 1916 on which a team hit eight home runs in a game. The Blue Jays, who whacked 10 on September 14, 1987, hold the single-game record. The Reds are the only team ever to hit exactly nine in a game, and they did it precisely 14 years to the day of Boston’s outburst, on September 4, 1999.

Following the blowout victory, the Red Sox are now 2 ½ games ahead of the Tigers in the race for the junior circuit’s no. 1 postseason seed. And with 19 hits—12 of them for extra bases and all of them off of right-handed pitchers—in 41 at-bats on Wednesday night, their league-best .814 OPS against right-handers surged upward, too.

Quick Hits from Wednesday
Another home-run feat? Sure, why not.

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