Red Sox rout Rays behind Ortiz's 500th HR
ST. PETERSBURG -- David Ortiz hit his 499th and 500th career home runs to lead the Red Sox to a 10-4 win over the Rays on Saturday night at Tropicana Field.
His teammates climbed out of the dugout for a standing ovation and a series of hugs, handshakes and high-fives. The Red Sox relief pitchers jogged down the third-base line like there was a brawl to greet the newest member of the 500-home-run club. Tropicana Field displayed a congratulatory message on the video board just a few feet from where the historic blast landed.
"Tonight was one of those nights where you feel good, you're swinging the bat good, getting good pitches to hit," said Ortiz of his epic performance. "To hit homers you need to have that good mojo going on, and really knowing what you're doing at the plate. Have an idea what the pitchers are trying to do.
"Tonight, I got two pitches that I don't really see too much. When the Rays miss, they usually miss off the plate, and as a hitter, I make my living off pitchers' mistakes."
Pablo Sandoval was the first to greet him and then it was Dustin Pedroia, Ortiz's longest-tenured teammate. Pedroia belted another of Boston's five home runs when he went back-to-back with Mookie Betts to lead off the third inning. Four of the five homers came against Matt Moore (1-4), who made his eighth start of the season and second since returning to the Majors from Triple-A Durham as part of September callups. The former All-Star lasted lasted five innings, giving up six earned runs on nine hits.
John Jaso got Tampa Bay on the board in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run homer off starting pitcher Rick Porcello. Porcello (8-12) threw 118 pitches in seven innings while giving up five hits, three earned runs and striking out eight.
"They just came out and beat us," Tampa manager Kevin Cash said. "There weren't a ton of positives."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Papi in perspective: With Saturday's historic performance, Ortiz became the 27th player in Major League history to reach the 500-home run plateau, joining Alex Rodriguez (685) and Albert Pujols (555) as the only active players to accomplish the feat. Big Papi became the fourth player to hit his 500th home run as a member of the Red Sox, along with Jimmie Foxx (1940), Ted Williams (1960) and Manny Ramirez (2008), marking the first time that four players have hit number 500 for a single team. More >
Mookie still mashing: Betts led off the game with an infield single, extending his hitting streak to a Major League-leading 17 games, and launched his 15th home run of the season to open the third. The rookie center fielder scored three times on the night and collected his 18th stolen base of the season. The Red Sox lead Major League Baseball in RBIs (87) and total bases (289) from the leadoff spot this year.
Porcello keeps producing: The Red Sox right-hander, who was sidelined for nearly all of August with right triceps soreness, has delivered four consecutive quality starts since his return from the disabled list, notching a 3-1 record and 2.15 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 4 walks in 29 1/3 innings of work.
"It was awesome. We put up 10 runs and David hit his 500th, so that was fun to be a part of," said Porcello. "Obviously, today is all about David and his unbelievable accomplishment. I was just happy I was able to pitch today." More >
Moore is less: Moore's tough 2015 season continued on Saturday and the starting pitcher was in trouble from the first batter of the game. Betts and Xander Bogaerts led off with singles ahead of Ortiz's first homer. Moore, who returned from Tommy John surgery in July, went five innings and allowed runs in all but one. Ortiz, Betts and Pedroia all went deep against Moore, whose ERA is now 8.42 in eight starts this season. Soon the Rays will have to balance the importance of keeping pace in the Wild Card race with an innings count they want Moore to hit. Cash said Moore will make his next start as they continue to balance a focus on this season and next. The Rays sit five games behind Texas for the American League's second Wild Card.
"I would say I was happy with the stuff I had coming out tonight, but I wasn't happy with the execution," Moore said. More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Ortiz now has 33 career home runs at Tropicana Field, the most by a visiting player in the park's 18-year history.
Ortiz also joined Albert Pujols as the only two players to hit home runs No. 499 and 500 in the same game. Pujols did it on April 22, 2014. In both instances, the player homered in the first and fifth inning. Harmon Killebrew and Mark McGwire each hit their 500th and 501st in the same game. Killebrew did it on Aug. 10, 1971, and McGwire achieved the feat on Aug. 5, 1999. More >
Red Sox: Rich Hill will make his first Major League appearance of the season -- and first big league start since 2009 -- when the Red Sox and Rays wrap up their three-game series on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET. The veteran left-hander, who was signed to a Minor League deal in August, went 3-2 with a 2.78 ERA for Triple-A Pawtucket in five starts prior to his September callup. .
Rays: Drew Smyly is on the mound as Tampa Bay tries to hang around in the Wild Card race. Since returning from a torn labrum Aug. 16, Smyly has alternated clunkers with gems. Two of his five starts lasted at least 5 2/3 innings without a run. In the other three, he allowed at least three earned runs. Last time out, against the Tigers on Monday, Smyly gave up four earned runs in five innings. .
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