Red Sox hit eight homers, destroy Tigers 20-4

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The Red Sox overshadowed David Ortiz’s 2,000th career hit Wednesday, tying their franchise record with eight homers in a 20-4 drubbing of the Tigers.

Ortiz was a big part of the barrage, hitting two of the homers. His 2,000th hit, sandwiched in between the homers, was a double.

Ortiz became the 275th player, at least according to Baseball-reference’s leaderboard, to reach 2,000 hits. There are five designated hitters (guys who started at DH at least half of the time) ahead of him: Harold Baines (2,866), Frank Thomas (2,468), Edgar Martinez (2,247), Don Baylor (2,135) and Hal McRae (2,091).

Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava, Ryan Lavarnway and Mike Napoli also homered for the Red Sox tonight. It was the second eight-homer game in franchise history. The other came on July 4, 1977 against the Blue Jays. Among the players to homer in that one were Carl Yastrzemski, Fred Lynn (twice) and Jim Rice.

The Red Sox were the first team in three years to hit eight homers in a game. The last to do it was the Blue Jays on Aug. 7, 2010. Before that, the Yankees did it on July 31, 2007.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.