Red Sox-Tigers Preview

The Detroit Tigers insist they are still in contention in the crowded AL wild-card race.

The Boston Red Sox are probably just looking to score some runs on the road for a change.

Ian Kinsler is enjoying a red-hot stretch for the Tigers, who look to hand the Red Sox their 10th road loss in 11 games in Friday night's opener of this weekend series.

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Detroit (53-55) gained much-needed confidence after taking the last two games of a three-game home set with AL-leading Kansas City, including Thursday's 8-6 victory on Kinsler's two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning.

''We're not that far out, and we know we've got a lot of games to play,'' Kinsler said. ''No one in this room thinks this season is over.''

Kinsler drove in three runs as he improved to 15 for 29 with nine runs scored and six RBIs over his last seven games after connecting following Jose Iglesias' leadoff single.

"Ian's been our hottest hitter," manager Brad Ausmus said. "He's very capable of not only getting a hit and moving a guy to third but hitting a double and driving him in and obviously capable of hitting a home run."

Victor Martinez went deep twice for his first multi-homer game since 2010 and drove in a season-high five runs.

Boston (48-61) is 1-9 on the road since the All-Star break, averaging AL worsts of 1.9 runs and 0.50 homers. The Red Sox opened this six-game trip by batting .175 and totaling six runs with 28 strikeouts while dropping two of three to the New York Yankees after Thursday's 2-1 defeat.

They fell to 11-18 against left-handed starters while facing CC Sabathia in that contest and meet another one in Daniel Norris (2-1, 3.23 ERA), who will make his Detroit home debut.

Norris was acquired from Toronto in the David Price deal on July 30 and yielded one run over 7 1-3 innings in Sunday's 6-1 victory at Baltimore in his Tigers debut.

"You always want to make a good impression," he said. "If you go out there and try to do too much, the wheels can fall off rather quickly."

The only Red Sox hitter he has faced is David Ortiz, who struck out in that at-bat. Ortiz is batting .172 off southpaws for one of baseball's worst marks.

Xander Bogaerts leads the majors with a .388 average versus left-handers. He was 0 for 11 in the Yankees series while Hanley Ramirez was 1 for 12.

Boston will give Joe Kelly (3-6, 6.11) his first start against Detroit. Kinsler, who is 1 for 2 against him, is the only Tigers hitter he has faced.

The right-hander is 0-3 with a 6.88 ERA in his last seven road starts. Kelly has failed to record an out past the fifth inning in his last five outings - a stretch in which he has posted an 8.06 ERA and in which batters are hitting .357 against him.

Kelly allowed five runs for the third time in four starts, lasting five-plus innings in an 11-7 victory over Tampa Bay on Saturday for his first win since June 6.

Bogaerts went 8 for 14 and Ortiz was 5 for 8 with two homers as Boston took two of three at home over Detroit from July 24-26.

Center fielder Mookie Betts, who has missed the last eight games with a concussion, will join the Red Sox this weekend but there is still no target date for his return.