Saturday, August 16, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 10, Astros 7
By Joe McDonald
BOSTON -- Have a night, David Ortiz.
The veteran designated hitter went 3-for-5, including a pair of two-run homers and a two-run double, to help the Boston Red Sox to a 10-7 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday night at Fenway Park.
His six RBIs matched a career-high, which he's accomplished five times.
He's also inching closer to 500 career home runs.
On Saturday, his two home runs were Nos. 458 and 459. Nonetheless, he did reach a milestone.
In the bottom of the third inning, he crushed a two-run homer to deep center field for his 400th home run with the Red Sox. He took an 0-2 offering from Houston starter Brad Peacock and drove it into the center-field seats.
With that shot, Ortiz became the 25th player in major league history to record 400 homers for one team. He also becomes the third Red Sox player to reach 400 and joins Ted Williams (521) and Carl Yastrzemski (452).
Ortiz's second homer of the game -- career No. 401 with the Red Sox -- was a Pesky Special in the bottom of the fifth inning. Peacock delivered a 3-2 slider that Ortiz turned on and deposited around the Pesky Pole for a two-run homer. According to ESPN Stats & Information, at 318 feet, it was the shortest home run by any player in the league this season.
Also, it was Ortiz's 45th career multi-homer game and his 43rd with the Red Sox.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Ortiz stepped into the batter's box with the bases loaded, and he delivered an opposite-field, two-run double to give the Red Sox a 9-6 lead. With Ortiz standing on second base, manager John Farrell inserted Corey Brown as a pinch runner for Ortiz. As he jogged off the field, the 37,652 in attendance gave him a standing ovation.
After he disappeared into the dugout, the fans began to chant, "Papi, Papi, Papi" for a curtain call, and he gave it to them by standing on the bottom step and waving his helmet.
Ortiz has come a long way since he first arrived in Boston.
When he signed with the Red Sox as a free agent prior to the 2003 season, he had hit only 58 home runs in his six seasons with the Minnesota Twins. In his first season with the Red Sox, Ortiz registered his first home run with Boston on April 27, 2003, at Anaheim. He produced a pinch-hit, opposite-field, solo shot off Angels reliever Mickey Callaway in the top of the 14th inning to help the Red Sox to a 6-4 win. Jason Varitek also hit a solo homer in the 14th inning of that game.
On Saturday, Ortiz's two home runs were Nos. 27 and 28 of the season. Ortiz needs only 41 more to reach the coveted 500-homer plateau.
Timely: Jackie Bradley Jr. has been struggling at the plate, but he came up with a timely at-bat with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning. He had been just 1-for-9 but delivered a sacrifice fly deep to center field that pushed across the go-ahead run to give the Red Sox a 7-6 lead. He added a leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth inning and scored a run.
Locked in: Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava went 3-for-4 with a pair of singles, a double and two RBIs. This homestand against the Astros, he's 5-for-7 with three doubles, two RBIs, one walk and one run scored.
Streaking: With his single to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning, Brock Holt extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He's 13-for-45 during this span.
Secret weapon: Opponents are finally beginning to realize it's not a good idea to run on Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez. He possesses a strong and accurate arm, and he displayed it in the top of the fourth inning. The Astros' Jose Altuve led off with a single and then attempted to steal second. But Vazquez denied the baserunner and threw him out by a couple of steps. That proved crucial because Houston's Chris Carter followed with a solo home run into the Monster seats.
Swiped and stolen: Red Sox cleanup hitter Yoenis Cespedes collected his first stolen base since coming to Boston at the trade deadline. In the bottom of the fifth inning, he reached on a two-base error by Astros first baseman Jon Singleton, who misplayed Cespedes' towering pop fly. The baserunner then stole third for his fourth swipe of the season. In the top of the sixth inning, he used his glove to rob Robbie Grossman of a hit and possibly extra bases. Grossman lifted a high fly ball down the left-field line, and as Cespedes was running out of real estate, he made a difficult catch against the wall near the garage door for the first out of the inning.