DETROIT -- Rick Porcello returned to Comerica Park and quieted his old team, holding down the Tigers for seven innings as the Red Sox roughed up rookie Michael Fulmer for a 10-2 win Friday night.Boston's seventh win in its last eight games closed its gap to a half-game behind Toronto
DETROIT -- Rick Porcello returned to Comerica Park and quieted his old team, holding down the Tigers for seven innings as the Red Sox roughed up rookie Michael Fulmer for a 10-2 win Friday night.
Boston's seventh win in its last eight games closed its gap to a half-game behind Toronto in the American League East. Detroit, meanwhile, fell seven games behind Cleveland in the AL Central, though the Tigers remain 3 1/2 games behind Baltimore for the second AL Wild Card spot.
A year and a half after Detroit traded Porcello to Boston for Yoenis Céspedes, Porcello (17-3) made his first outing at Comerica Park since the trade and outpitched the rookie hurler the Tigers acquired when they traded Cespedes to the Mets last summer. The Tigers' former first-round Draft pick racked up eight strikeouts, one shy of his season high, while allowing just four hits, and he moved into a tie with Toronto's J.A. Happ for the Major League lead in wins.
"It was weird being on the other side," Porcello said, "but it helped a lot that I pitched against them last year [in Boston] and that we came here last year. Today didn't feel quite as strange, so I was able to settle in and enjoy it."
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J.D. Martinez accounted for half of the hits off Porcello, including a two-run homer in the second inning for Detroit's only scoring. By then, however, the Red Sox already had four runs off Fulmer (10-4), courtesy of two-run home runs from David Ortiz and Jackie Bradley Jr.
"They had my number tonight," Fulmer said.
Once the Red Sox churned out four consecutive two-out singles for two runs in the sixth, they had put up more runs against Fulmer than any team this season. Fulmer gave up six runs on 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings.
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"He was bound to have an outing like this at some point," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
Hanley Ramirez put the game away with two-run doubles off Bruce Rondón in the seventh and Mark Lowe in the eighth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Setting the tone: Ortiz started the night off by taking a 2-2 Fulmer fastball deep to right field for his 22nd career home run at Comerica Park. Three batters later, Bradley followed his lead by sending a full-count slider out.
Martinez mash: Martinez wasn't a teammate of Porcello's in Detroit for as long as other Tigers, but he was the one batter to give Porcello real trouble Friday. Martinez was on Porcello's fastball for a two-run home run to regain some momentum in the second, then lashed a line drive that broke Xander Bogaerts' glove for a single in the fourth. For good measure, Martinez battled Porcello for 10 pitches to draw a two-out walk in the sixth.
"J.D. is better than me. That's what I saw," Porcello said. "The last at-bat, the third at-bat, I basically was emptying the tank on him, just doing my best to throw my best fastballs and not let him do what he did in the [second] inning, and he spoiled all of those and drew a walk. He had a [heck] of a game. He was really tough out there."
Down but not out: Fulmer retired the first two batters in the sixth inning on four pitches before the Red Sox strung together four straight singles to expand their lead to 6-2. Rookie Andrew Benintendi knocked in Sandy Leon with the third hit of the inning, while Dustin Pedroia drove in Brock Holt and knocked Fulmer out of the game. The Red Sox were 9-for-18 with two outs, scoring six runs.
Miggy makes the grab:Miguel Cabrera suffered a strained biceps in his left arm earlier this week, but that didn't stop him from stretching out for a diving grab to rob Benintendi of possible extra bases leading off the fifth inning.
"It was fun, honestly, being back. It's a little different being on the other side, for sure, but it was a lot of fun." -- Porcello, on returning to Comerica Park
"He was just mad I couldn't go to brunch with him tomorrow." -- Tigers outfielder Tyler Collins, on an exchange of words with Porcello after an at-bat
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Boston's 10 runs increased its Major League-leading total for the season to 669, which is 61 more than the AL's next-highest total (Cleveland, 608).
Red Sox:Drew Pomeranz (9-9, 2.99 ERA) makes his seventh start in a Red Sox uniform Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET at Comerica Park. He is 1-2 with Boston and is coming off his longest outing of the season -- a win at Cleveland in which he allowed two runs over 7 2/3 innings.
Tigers:Daniel Norris (1-1, 3.47), who gave up five runs on nine hits over 3 1/3 innings against the Red Sox in his second start as a Tiger last August, will look for revenge as the series continues Saturday night. Justin Upton is expected to return to Detroit's lineup for the first time since Tuesday.
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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.
Kyle Beery is a reporter for MLB.com based in Detroit and covered the Red Sox on Friday.