Homers back Dempster as Sox drop Halos
Ortiz starts barrage, Saltalamacchia hits two to back righty in win
BOSTON -- The Red Sox continue to ride the power surge of star slugger David Ortiz.
For the second straight day and the third time in four games, Ortiz hit a home run. Not coincidentally, every time Ortiz has gone deep during that span, Boston has won.
His three-run shot off Joe Blanton on Sunday jump-started a high-octane Boston offense en route to a 10-5 win and a 2-1 series victory over the Angels.
Ortiz sent a 1-1 changeup just over the wall in right-center field in the third inning for his 13th homer of the year, giving his team a lead it would not relinquish in the process.
"Once again, a lot of deep counts, a lot of pitches seen, a lot of good swings taken, starting with the three-run homer with David, to not only give us the four runs in that third inning but give us a little breathing room," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Boston added on in the sixth when Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Mike Carp sent back-to-back pitches over the wall in center. It was the fifth time this season Boston batters have hit back-to-back homers. For Carp, it was his second straight game with a home run.
That concluded a rough day for Blanton. In five-plus innings, the right-hander gave up seven runs (six earned) including three homers. He fell to 1-10 on the season.
Saltalamacchia wasn't done, however. The very next inning, he hit another long ball, this one a three-run shot to give him four RBIs in the game.
"With the approach he's locked in with right now, you look at a guy in the six-, seven-hole with that kind of power threat, I think it kind of speaks to what our lineup has and the ability to put up runs quickly," Farrell said of his catcher.
The 10 runs are a representation of what Boston has done better than any other team in baseball this season -- score. The Red Sox lead baseball with 336 runs scored and 330 RBIs. Over their last eight games, the Sox are averaging 7.63 runs per contest.
Ortiz and Saltalamacchia aren't the only Boston bats with success as of late, either. Dustin Pedroia and Jose Iglesias both extended their hitting streaks to 13 games and Jacoby Ellsbury, who tripled Sunday, is now batting .279, 38 points higher than his average on May 20.
When everyone is hitting, it can change the approach of batters.
"There's less pressure on you to get the run in, but you still, at the same time, you still want to do your job," Saltalamacchia said. "If there's guys in scoring position, you still want to get them in. Nobody wants to get out, so you still have that pressure on you."
The offense backed a solid performance from Ryan Dempster, who pitched six innings and gave up three runs, recording his 2,000th career strikeout in the process. Home runs continue to plague him, though, and he gave up two more Sunday -- one by Albert Pujols and another by Alberto Callaspo. On the season, Dempster has now given up 14 long balls, which ties him for fourth most in the league.
"I think it's the walks and hits before home runs that are kind of what do you in," Dempster said. "You know, I've given up my fair share of home runs this year, and I feel like most of them, or a vast majority of them, have been solo homers."
Still, the outing was a quality start for Dempster and his third straight after a trio of shaky starts in May. With the win, he's 4-6 on the year.
Dempster gave up the blast to Pujols in the first inning and the homer by Callaspo in the fourth. Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo knocked in Mike Trout on a single in the fifth, but that was all the Angels could muster off Dempster.
The Red Sox didn't get started until the third inning, when Daniel Nava singled to score Ellsbury. Two batters later, Ortiz gave Boston a 4-1 lead. An RBI triple by Ellsbury extended the lead one inning later. When Saltalamacchia and Carp homered in the sixth, the rout was on.
"[Blanton] got off to a good start his first time through order, then had trouble hitting spots with the fastball, got a changeup up to Ortiz for the homer, struggled with some fastball command, especially in the sixth inning," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
The Red Sox have won six of their last eight games and 11 of their last 16. They've won three straight series.
"For us to win another series and have a good homestand like that, and then we build off that and go on the road and be ready for a game tomorrow," Dempster said.