Is it a resurgence for David Ortiz? After another cruel April, the erstwhile slugger has been thoroughly enjoying May, now hitting .333 with 5 home runs and 11 RBI through 9 games.
Friday was a big night for Big Papi, and it all began in the first inning. Marco Scutaro singles to open the game, and Dustin Pedroia blasted a 2-run homer to left off of Tigers’ starter Max Scherzer for the immediate Boston advantage. After Victor Martinez grounded out, Kevin Youkilis drew a walk and J.D. Drew singled, setting the table for the game’s most vicious blow.
On a 3-1 count, Ortiz crushed Scherzer’s offering to deep center– a tape-measure shot that landed just shy of 460 feet. With one prodigious swing, it was 5-0 Sox.
In the bottom of the frame Clay Buchholz had some struggles of his own, walking Austin Jackson and Magglio Ordonez. Jackson scored on a single by Brennan Boesch, but Buchholz was able to limit the damage to 1 run.
Both pitcher settled down over the next few innings, but in the fourth Scherzer faced Ortiz again. The result was nearly the same; Ortiz launched a 405-foot shot to right, putting Boston up 6-1. The 3 dingers supplied all the offense Boston would need, as Buchholz sailed through the remainder of his start. He finished with 6.1 innings, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits and 5 walks. He struck out 3.
Daniel Bard relieved him, allowing Detroit’s second run in the bottom of the eighth. He surrendered a single to Ordonez, who advanced on a wild pitch. Boesch then hit a shot back to the mound that Bard mishandled; the throwing error kept all runners safe with Ordonez at third. He scored on a sac fly by Brandon Inge.
Bard’s adventures threw a little scare into Sox fans, but the lead was never in jeopardy. Facing Fu-Te Ni, Bill Hall added a ninth-inning pinch-hit home run for good measure to set the final score at 7-2.
The game continued a nightmarish season for Max Scherzer, whose ERA now stands at 7.29 after his fourth consecutive brutal start. He’s surrendered 27 runs in the span.
As rough as it was on the Tiger’s rotation, the outcome was a dream for David Ortiz and Terry Francona, who risked continued playing time for Big Papi when his struggles were at their worst. Over the past couple of weeks, Ortiz has justified the faith in him, and the Sox can only hope that the rest of the season unfolds in the same way.
Pedroia’s homer was his team-leading eighth of the year.
Tonight the red hot Jon Lester will face Dontrelle Willis, who has been surprisingly effective through 6 games this season. He has struggled with walks, however, and the Red Sox will no doubt attempt to exploit that problem as they look to win back-to-back games.