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SEATTLE -- David Ortiz didn't wait long Wednesday to notch his 1,689th hit as a designated hitter and surpass Harold Baines for the all-time lead at a position that the American League adopted in 1973.
In the second inning, Ortiz took a 3-1 offering from Mariners starter Aaron Harang and lined a double into left-center field. Ortiz received an extended standing ovation from the Seattle and Boston fans scattered around Safeco Field and eventually came around to score.
He followed in the third inning with a long two-run home run, his 19th of the season.
Ortiz already holds marks for the most runs scored, doubles, home runs, extra-base hits and RBIs by a designated hitter.
He has shredded Seattle pitching the last three games, going 8-for-10 and boosting his batting average from .313 to .331. He has reached base in 20 of his past 21 games while hitting .413 (31-for-75) with 9 doubles, 5 homers and 16 RBIs.
Asked what prompted his offensive outburst, Ortiz joked, "What you mean lately? I've been hitting .300 the whole season. What are you watching?"
"He goes out there every day and he's so consistent you almost expect it," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said of Ortiz's production. "You feel bad whenever he goes 0-for-4 and you're like, 'Come on man, are you kidding me?' That's how good he has been."
|David Ortiz acknowledges the fans after passing Harold Baines with his 1,689th career hit as a DH.|
Ortiz spent three years (1994-96) in the Seattle farm system before beginning his decorated MLB career. On Sept. 13, 1996, the Mariners traded Ortiz to the Minnesota Twins for Dave Hollins, a career .260 hitter, in a move that still haunts Seattle fans.
"I never think about it," Ortiz said of his history with the organization. "You probably know where you're going to start at, but you never know where you are going to finish."
Not lost on Ortiz was the setting in which he achieved his latest milestone. In his 20s, he admired from a distance the hitting exploits of Mariners legend and DH pioneer Edgar Martinez.
"It's good to be mentioned with some of the greatest hitters that ever played the game," Ortiz said. "I used to love to watch Edgar. He was a wonderful hitter."
Ortiz has been nothing short of the same in visits to Seattle. In his last 16 games at Safeco Field, he has collected at least one hit on 15 occasions, going 24-for-66 (.364) with five home runs and 12 RBIs.
One key to his success of late has been the ability to recognize and barrel up pitches he wants to hit. During his recent run, pitchers simply haven't been able to operate ahead in the count because Ortiz doesn't often swing at pitches out of the strike zone.
"I'm the kind of guy that just takes what they give me," he said. "If they don't give me anything to hit, what should I do? I'll walk to first base. That's what I've been doing all season."
Mariners manager Eric Wedge can attest.
"It's tough," he said. "If you make a mistake to him, he is going to make you pay."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.