It took nine games, but for the first time this season David Ortiz and the real Red Sox stood up and showed that they are still alive and well.
After struggling for seven innings against the Texas Rangers, Big Papi turned things around in stunning fashion, blasting a three-run home run just inside the Pesky Pole in the bottom of the eighth inning to power the Red Sox past the Rangers 4-2.
Apr 9, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (34) hits a three run homer during the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
The Sox wound up winning the three game series and now have some real momentum to carry into their four game weekend showdown in the Bronx with the rival Yankees.
It was the first time this season the Red Sox usual blueprint for success was in clear focus: get solid starting pitching, a clutch hit or two and then let Koji Uehara close it out. This plan worked beautifully in 2013 but was missing this season up until today.
Papi doing his thing allowed the Sox to get a big win and not waste another strong start from veteran Jake Peavy.
Peavy shut the Rangers down to the tune of just one run on three hits in 6.2 innings of work. He had four walks but also recorded eight strikeouts to tie his single game best in a Red Sox uniform.
Despite Rangers starter Robbie Ross walking six batters, the Sox could only muster one run in the first seven innings as Dustin Pedroia managed to drive in Jackie Bradley, Jr. in the third inning on a dribbler up the third base line that Ross picked up and overthrew to first base as Bradley came around to score from second base on the error.
Texas tied the game in the seventh and then took a 2-1 lead in the top of the eighth as Alex Rios hit a sacrifice fly off lefty Andrew Miller to score Elvis Andrus and put the Sox in danger of yet another sluggish and disappointing early season loss.
But in the bottom of the eighth, Bradley, Jr. walked, A.J. Pierzynski, hitting for Jonny Gomes, singled and after Pedroia grounded into a fielder’s choice erasing pinch runner Grady Sizemore, Ortiz stepped to the plate and hit the three run bomb off lefty Neal Cotts to energize Fenway for the first time this season.
Koji closed things out in the ninth and sent the Sox on to New York with a real shot of adrenaline in the best win of the young season.