On the day he was named the American League’s top offensive performer for the month of May, Sox DH David Ortiz announced his presence with authority in another way tonight at Fenway Park. He hit a clutch two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to put his team ahead for good, as the Red Sox overcame an early 3-0 deficit to beat the Oakland A’s, 6-4.
If you had ANY doubts after last month, ladies and gentlemen, one thing is for sure—Big Papi is back!
Ortiz hit .363, with 10 HR and 27 RBI in May to garner the offensive player recognition. Additionally, teammate Jon Lester was named the AL’s top pitcher for May. But tonight it was Ortiz who was able to celebrate the award ON the field with his clutch blast into the right field grandstand.
A’s starter Ben Sheets pitched to Ortiz with a runner at second base and first base unoccupied… and he paid for his disrespect. He left a fastball over the inner half of the plate and watched as a 3-2 lead dissipated into a 4-3 deficit. The next time through the batting order, Oakland issued Ortiz his FIRST intentional walk of the year.
If he keeps hitting like this, it will have been the first on many to come.
One night after John Lackey got off to a rocky start only to watch as his teammates rallied, Daisuke Matsuzaka surrendered three runs in a rocky first inning and then settled down IMPRESSIVELY as his offense recovered to take him off the hook. In his last start, Dice-K walked eight batters and looked lost on the mound, whereas tonight he threw an astounding 77 percent of his pitches (84-of-109) for strikes.
Dr Jekyl, meet Mr Hyde!
After the first inning, Dice-K did not allow another baserunner to reach third base until the top of the seventh inning when, with two outs, he hit 1B Daric Barton with a pitch and surrendered a single to OF Ryan Sweeney. At that point, manager Terry Francona called on fireballer Daniel Bard, who came in and was once again masterful. Bard struck C Kurt Suzuki to protect the 4-3 lead, and then retired the side in the eighth inning before turning the game over to Jonathan Papelbon. Pappy earned his 13th save in spite of surrendering a pinch-hit home run to Kevin Kouzmanoff.
Oakland scored three runs in the first inning on Sweeney’s rbi-double and Suzuki’s two-run home run. The Red Sox with a pair of their own in the bottom of the frame on a Kevin Youkilis two-run single. It stayed that way until Ortiz’ home run in the fifth inning. The Sox added single runs in the seventh (a Dustin Pedroia rbi-double) and eighth (a Marco Scutaro run-scoring single) to extend the lead to 6-3.
When all was said and done, those runs were important as Papelbon surrendered the home run and a two-out single in the ninth inning. BUt Sweeney, representing the tying run, grounded out to end the ballgame.
Tim Wakefield (1-3, 5.68) will face off against Brett Anderson (2-1, 1.88) in tomorrow’s series finale at 1:35 PM.