Mr. Walk-off: Papi powers Sox past Astros
BOSTON -- David Ortiz had never hit a homer, triple and double in the same game, but that all changed on Saturday afternoon as he hit a walk-off two-bagger to give the Red Sox a 6-5 victory over the Astros in 11 innings at Fenway Park.
Ortiz's solo homer in the third inning was No. 513 in his career, surpassing Hall of Famers Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for No. 22 on the all-time list. With Papi's game-winning double, he joined Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds as the only players with at least 500 homers and 600 doubles.
The Astros opted to pitch to Ortiz in the 11th after first base became open following a two-strike wild pitch by reliever Michael Feliz.
"I thought they were going to kind of pitch around me, but I wanted to stay aggressive," Ortiz told WEEI in a postgame interview on the field. "He threw me a changeup and I wanted to make sure I don't get caught into the, 'Oh, they're going to pitch around me and I'm going to swing.' It's a crucial moment and you have to be aware of the situation. I'm aggressive. When I get to the plate, I try to make things happen."
Two innings earlier, with Luke Gregerson trying to protect a 5-4 Astros lead in the ninth, Ortiz laced a two-out triple to left-center field that scored Xander Bogaerts from first and tied the game. Hanley Ramirez followed by trying unsuccessfully to bunt for a hit with Ortiz on third, sending the game to extra innings.
"What makes David so good in those spots is he never comes out of his approach, his heart rate I don't think really elevates that much," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He's hitting in those moments with such clarity, and he's done it so often that he's extremely confident in those key spots."
The Astros jumped to a 5-2 lead on a first-inning home run by Carlos Correa and a second-inning grand slam by George Springer, who sent a towering shot high over the Monster off Clay Buchholz for his second go-ahead homer in as many games.
"This was our game to win," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We had every chance to win the game. Even tried to tack on a run and they did a good job of shutting us down after the big inning in the second, and we did a good job of shutting them down 'til later in the game as well. Hard-fought game, [stinks] to lose, for sure."
Buchholz managed to go six frames and did not allow a run after the second, but the damage was done. The right-hander gave up five runs for the fifth time this season, more than any other pitcher in the Majors.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
This is 40: Papi kept the Red Sox alive in the ninth inning with his first triple this season and 19th of his career. He then delivered his 20th walk-off hit with the Red Sox to send the fans into another frenzy.
"Being able through the years to produce, and even in my last season being able to help this ballclub, is something I work extremely hard on," said Ortiz, who is planning to retire after this year. "It's not over, it's just the beginning."
The 40-year-old Ortiz now has 10 home runs, 33 RBIs and a 1.101 OPS on the year -- and he continues to leave his teammates in awe.
"I don't know how he does it," said Bogaerts. "It's for some people and it's not for other people. He thrives in situations like that, and he can't wait to get an opportunity like that." More >
Astros pitch to Papi: With first base open following a wild pitch that sent Xander Bogaerts to second base in the 11th inning, the Astros opted not to walk Ortiz. The count was 2-2 and Ortiz clubbed a changeup to center field to spark a wild celebration. Ortiz hit a game-tying triple in the ninth with a runner at first, but Hinch didn't want to put the tying run at second by walking him in that situation.
"With two strikes and the wild pitch, you can take a shot," Hinch said. "[Reliever Pat] Neshek climbed the ladder and had a lot of effectiveness [against Ortiz in the seventh]. [Ortiz] is not perfect. He's hitting .300, not 1.000. And so it didn't turn out in our favor, but I didn't go away from anything we planned given the two strikes." More >
Springer's grand dinger powers Astros: One night after hitting a game-winning two-run homer in his second career game at Fenway Park -- the ballpark he grew up attending as a kid in Connecticut -- Springer's second-inning grand slam continued his hot weekend in Boston. The blast, which was projected by Statcast™ to land 455 feet away, was the Astros' second grand slam this year off Buchholz, and the second for Springer (also April 6 at the Yankees).
"Just hit the ball hard," Springer said. "I'm not really trying to do anything special. Just hit the ball hard and try to get that guy in from third." More >
Hanley's head-scratcher: Ramirez laid down an unexpected bunt with Ortiz on third and two outs in the ninth, but Astros catcher Jason Castro threw him out easily at first base.
"I didn't need a double, triple or home run, I just needed a base hit to bring Papi home," Ramirez said. "Everyone was playing back. If I get it down, he would have scored."
Farrell, for one, would have preferred to see Ramirez swing away.
"He saw something that maybe only he saw, with looking to push a bunt past Gregerson who's on the mound at that time," Farrell said. "We're kind of hopeful that he might swing the bat and drive a run in."
"I don't care if David is 100 years old, he's not gonna beat me. I'm not gonna let him beat me." -- Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., on the Astros' decision not to intentionally walk Ortiz in the 11th inning
Astros: Rookie right-hander Chris Devenski will make his fourth Major League start in Sunday's 12:35 p.m. CT series finale at Fenway Park. In his first three starts, he's posted a 2.55 ERA while allowing 16 hits and striking out 15 batters in 17 2/3 innings. The Astros have scored three runs total for him in those starts.
Red Sox: Right-hander Sean O'Sullivan makes his second start of the year at 1:35 p.m. ET. O'Sullivan picked up a win on Tuesday despite allowing four runs on 12 hits in six innings against Oakland. The 28-year-old journeyman has pitched for the Angels, Royals, Padres and Phillies over his eight-year career.
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