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DETROIT — The Boston Red Sox roughed up one of baseball’s best pitchers this season.
Then, Boston refused to take it easy on Detroit’s relievers.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a three-run homer off Max Scherzer in a five-run second inning, and hot-hitting Boston went on to rout the Tigers 14-1 in an eight-inning, rain-shortened game Thursday.
“We put up a crooked number early and then we kept at them,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “That’s a nice formula for winning. When you keep them off the scoreboard, that makes for a good day.”
The Red Sox, who beat Cleveland 14-2 on Wednesday, scored at least 14 runs in back-to-back games for the first time since 1998.
“I’m glad we had two good days in a row,” Francona said. “It’s nice to have games like that every once in a while.”
Boston has won 11 of 13 and trail the AL East-leading New York Yankees by percentage points, but that fact doesn’t do much for Francona yet.
“It’s a little early,” he said.
Since the Red Sox got off to an 0-6 start — their worst since 1945 — they’ve won 28 of 44 games and lead the majors with a 17-7 record this month.
“You can’t judge a team in a couple weeks,” Boston catcher Jason Varitek said.
Or, a player.
Carl Crawford is making his slow start this season a distant memory.
Crawford’s two-run triple gave the Red Sox a seven-run lead, chasing Scherzer, and he had another run-scoring triple later in the game while becoming the first Boston player with four hits in consecutive games since Dustin Pedroia in 2008. Crawford had two triples in a game for the eighth time in his career and the first time in three years.
“It’s fun to watch him run,” Varitek said.
Crawford’s second triple made it 9-1 in the seventh inning. The Red Sox didn’t let up, scoring five runs in the eighth.
Boston became the first team to score at least 14 runs three times in a seven-day span since Atlanta did it in 2006, and the first to score 14 in back-to-back games since Texas in 2008, according to STATS, LLC.
Alfredo Aceves (2-0) allowed a run on five hits and struck out six over six innings. Aceves made his second start with Boston and the seventh of his career.
“He took some steps in the learning process,” Varitek said.
Aceves has won his last 12 decisions, dating to 2009 when he was a Yankees reliever, for baseball’s longest wining streak since Cliff Lee won the same number of consecutive decisions with Cleveland three years ago. Aceves’ previous 11 wins were as a reliever.
With an inning left to play, the umpires decided to start a rain delay more than an hour after it started to rain. Almost an hour later, the game was called.
Detroit had won three straight and poor pitching ruined the streak.
Scherzer (6-2) gave up a season-high seven runs on seven hits and two walks in two-plus innings, lasting fewer than five for the first time this year. He has lost consecutive starts after winning his first six decisions.
Scherzer’s first six pitches against the Red Sox were balls, then they roughed him up as soon as he started throwing the ball over the plate.
“This just wasn’t Max’s day,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “When he threw good pitches, they found spots. When he threw bad pitches, they found spots. Sometimes when you throw a bad pitch, they will hit it right at someone, but they hit them in the gaps and over the fence.
“When Max walks the first hitter on four pitches, that’s a red flag.”
Detroit avoided getting shut out when Alex Avila hit an RBI single in the fourth to make it 7-1. The Tigers had a chance to get closer in the fifth, getting two in scoring position with only one out only to have Brennan Boesch pop up in foul territory and Miguel Cabrera strike out.
NOTES: The Red Sox plan to pitch RHP Bobby Jenks for an inning for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday and Sunday. Jenks has been on the DL since May 5 with strained biceps. ... Detroit OF Magglio Ordonez, on the DL with an injured right ankle since May 11, is scheduled for “baseball activity” before Friday’s game. ... Red Sox RHP John Lackey, on the DL since May 16 with a strained elbow, is scheduled for a bullpen session Friday. He’ll make a rehab outing Tuesday for Pawtucket. ... Detroit LHP Adam Wilk made his major league debut, allowing two hits and an unearned run over 3 2-3 innings. ... The Red Sox put OF Darnell McDonald (left quadriceps) on the DL and called up OF Josh Reddick, who had a single in his first at-bat for them this year.