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Saturday, July 27, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 7, Orioles 3

By Gordon Edes



BALTIMORE -- The Boston Red Sox snapped their hitting slump. David Ortiz snapped.

Stephen Drew hit two home runs and Shane Victorino one, but no one swung a bat more violently in Boston’s 7-3 win over Baltimore than Ortiz, who was ejected in the seventh inning about the same time he took out his frustration at an umpiring call with several savage swings at the wall phone in the visitors’ dugout.

Ortiz then stormed out of the dugout, where it took the intervention of John Farrell and coaches Brian Butterfield and Torey Lovullo to keep Ortiz away from plate umpire Tim Timmons, who is unlikely to preserve his evening’s labors as evidence of his finest work.

The 50-year-old Farrell, who is 6-foot-4 and was listed at 210 pounds in his playing days, needed every bit of his considerable bulk to hold back the enraged Ortiz, who gave his manager a couple of good shoves before returning to the dugout, flinging his elbow armor toward Timmons before departing.

There, he got an earful from second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who was sitting next to the phone when Ortiz tried to permanently disconnect it, his bat shattering and sending shards flying while Pedroia covered his head with a towel.

The ejection was the 10th of his career for Ortiz, whose outburst might subject him to additional discipline, although the endeavors of Farrell and his coaches may have been sufficient to keep that from happening.

“I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times,’’ one press box occupant said Saturday, “Ortiz can really hit the cover off the phone.’’

Watching on television, former teammate Gabe Kapler chimed in via Twitter (@gabekapler): “I don't blame David for being upset; he clearly didn't want to take any phone calls.’’

No one would have been cracking wise, of course, if Ortiz had hurt someone while swinging his bat, Pedroia in the line of fire much like Bret Saberhagen was when Carl Everett swung his bat in anger in the Fenway Park dugout in 2000, the day that led to Everett being suspended for head-butting umpire Ron Kulpa.

The pitch in question was a 3-and-0 delivery from Orioles reliever Jairo Asencio that Timmons inexplicably called a strike as Ortiz backed out of the batter’s box, even though replays showed the pitch was clearly high. Ortiz subsequently went down swinging, and gestured angrily as he returned to the dugout.

Earlier, winning pitcher Ryan Dempster had made a beeline toward Timmons to discuss at least one grievance, possibly two: Why Timmons granted batter Manny Machado time while Dempster was already in mid-delivery, and why he called an 0-and-2 pitch that looked like it was centered over the plate a ball. Perhaps because he had induced Machado to hit into an inning-ending double play, Dempster’s most important at-bat of the game, to preserve a 4-1 lead, the Sox pitcher kept his exchange with Timmons civil.

The entire umpiring crew had its issues. Farrell took on third-base umpire Laz Diaz about a fair-foul call that went against Boston, while Drew’s second home run of the night initially was ruled in play, leading to a bizarre sequence in which Drew stopped at third, then started jogging home, presuming the ball had left the premises, and scored anyway when the Orioles tried to put him out at the plate but failed to do so.

Official scorer David Vincent originally ruled it an inside-the-park home run, but umpires ducked inside for a video review and quickly emerged to rule the ball had indeed hit above the wall.

There were no doubts about Drew’s first home run, a three-run shot off Orioles starter Scott Feldman that ended a string of 95 at-bats since he’d last gone deep. It also was his first three-run home run since Aug. 26, 2010.

Drew would go on to record the second two-homer game of his career and matched a career high with five RBIs, Jarrod Saltalamacchia scoring ahead of his second home run.

Dempster, who showcased his full repertoire of pitches on a night his fastball velocity was off by a couple of miles per hour, gave up a couple of runs in 5 1/3 innings for the win.

The Sox remained a half-game behind Tampa Bay, 1-0 winners in New York, in the AL East.