David Ortiz spent most of the weekend getting bashed on the Boston sports radio airwaves for his demonstrative gesture toward the official scorer of Wednesday’s game, a contest the Red Sox won with back-to-back jacks by Ortiz and Mike Napoli in the bottom of the tenth inning.
Despite his heroics, many Sox fans were tired of Big Papi’s antics. Rays sourpuss David Price previously alluded to Ortiz thinking he was “bigger than the game,” and at .248 on the season, that kind of behavior wasn’t going to cut it, no matter how many clutch home runs he hit.
Well, you can chalk up another one.
Ortiz temporarily muzzled his critics and put a halt to the Red Sox’ three-game skid as his solo shot in the top of the tenth salvaged a win in the final game of a four-game set with the Oakland Athletics, 7-6.
Jon Lester sailed through 7 and 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs, striking out four Oakland hitters, walking two and hitting one (Craig Gentry) with a pitch. Other than a bumpy second frame, Lester was relatively unchallenged until he plunked Gentry and walked Jed Lowrie in the eighth. Burke Badenhop relieved to cede three singles and the A’s had climbed to within two runs at 6-4.
Oakland went back-to-back (Stephen Vogt and John Jaso) off Koji Uehara in the bottom of the ninth to send Lester to his first no-decision of the season. Things looked bleak until Papi drilled a Fernando Abad (2-3) offering over the wall in left-center. Uehara (3-1) remained in the game to pitch an uneventful tenth and record the win.
The Sox jumped on Oakland lefty Tommy Milone early and he exited after five innings of work, allowing five runs. The Sox pounded out 13 hits on the day, with three for Hacksaw Jonny Gomes, who plated two runners with a first inning single. Mike Napoli and David Ross each had solo homers and two-hit days, and Napoli was even credited with a steal of home on a pickoff play in the third inning.
Over the first three months of the season, Red Sox fans have constantly looked for a spark, some harbinger of consistent success. Will the BoSox build some momentum off of the win? They’ll send All-Star Game candidate John Lackey (8-4, 2.96) against Seattle ace, all-world Felix Hernandez (8-2, 2.22) Monday night at Safeco Field in Seattle, 10:10 ET.