CLEVELAND -- The Indians' infielders gathered around the edge of the grass between first and second while right-hander Jeff Manship warmed up in the eighth. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz joined the Tribe huddle, a situation that is normally off-limits to the opposing team.But Ortiz was welcomed into the private
CLEVELAND -- The Indians' infielders gathered around the edge of the grass between first and second while right-hander Jeff Manship warmed up in the eighth. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz joined the Tribe huddle, a situation that is normally off-limits to the opposing team.
But Ortiz was welcomed into the private party as he enjoyed every aspect of his final regular-season game at Progressive Field. Earlier in the game, Ortiz homered as Boston edged Cleveland, 3-2, in Monday's makeup contest.
"Every win matters," Ortiz said. "We are in August right now and we have to go for it. Any game you win, that's what matters to us."
Tribe starter Josh Tomlin had spun five scoreless frames, maintaining a 1-0 lead when Ortiz came up for his third at-bat in the sixth with one on and one away. Ortiz wasted no time taking advantage of Tomlin's mistake, lifting a cutter over the wall in right field to give his team a 2-1 advantage.
According to Statcast™, the ball landed 442 feet away from home plate and had an exit velocity of 106 mph. It tied his longest-hit home run of the season. The blast was his 27th of the season and first on the road since June 2 in Baltimore.
"He's got good stuff," Ortiz said. "That was probably the one mistake he made in the whole game. Which when I have a pitcher on the mound performing like that, I'll take it anytime. That tells you how good of a ballclub they have, because he's their fifth starter."
Ortiz has taken advantage of a number of mistakes during his career. His latest not only aided the Red Sox over the AL-Central-leading Indians, but it also moved him further up the all-time list in career RBIs. With 1,733 runs driven in over his illustrious career, Ortiz has now tied Honus Wagner for 22nd all-time.
Baseball has a longstanding history of disputes over numbers, and the career RBI leaderboard is one of them. Due to the uncertain nature of record keeping in the early part of the 20th century, there are some discrepancies regarding Wagner's overall numbers. According to Elias, Wagner's career RBI total is 1,733. The various sources used to comprise MLB.com's entire database, which lists Wagner with 1,732 career RBIs, reflects alternative and also credible points of view.
"He doesn't cease to amaze," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "And that's what he does in between the lines and that's the way he takes care of people and how he always reaches out to make an impact. He's a unique person, in all phases."
In his final at-bat, Ortiz hit a two-out single with an exit velocity that was actually faster than his home run at 109 mph. It was there he joined the exclusive Indians' infield gathering during a pitching change.
What makes his latest showing even more impressive is the fact that Monday's game was originally a scheduled off-day and one that may be needed for the 40-year-old slugger as his team prepares for a playoff push.
But with it perhaps being his last game at Progressive Field, Ortiz wasn't going to miss a chance to play in one of his favorite ballparks, where he has 15 home runs and drove in 39 runs over the course of his career.
"I always love hitting in this park," Ortiz said with a laugh. "Who doesn't? This is a really good hitting ballpark."
Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland and covered the Red Sox on Monday.