David Ortiz homered twice to set a franchise record with his 38th career multihomer game and the Red Sox outlasted the Twins, 12-5, on Saturday night at Target Field.
Ryan Dempster could have been the beneficiary of the Boston outburst, but he struggled with his control and couldn't get through the fifth inning. Handed a 7-2 lead to start the bottom of the fifth, Dempster gave up a double to Ryan Doumit and then got two quick outs. However, the righty then issued his sixth walk of the night and gave up back-to-back RBI singles to Pedro Florimon and Jamey Carroll.
At that point, Dempster had thrown 127 pitches, and manager John Farrell had seen enough.
Twice is nice
With two home runs Saturday night, David Ortiz passed Hall of Famer Ted Williams for the most multhomer games in a Sox uniform.
"The middle innings got a little dicey for us," Farrell said. "We tried to get Ryan through that fifth inning with every available pitch, but we got to a point where we had to make a move there."
Dempster said he would look for the positives in the game, like getting out of bases-loaded jams in the second and third innings with only one run allowed, but in the end, he was as frustrated and mystified by his lack of command as anybody else.
"I just couldn't get consistent. I'd throw one good pitch and then two bad ones," Dempster said. "I didn't really have any of my pitches out there tonight. … I'll just have to go out there and do my work between starts and go out there and get it the next time."
The Twins threatened to close the gap even further in the sixth when they loaded the bases with one out. However, Craig Breslow induced Aaron Hicks to hit a pop fly to short right field. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia made a running basket catch and then fired home to Ryan Lavarnway to nail Doumit attempting to tag up from third base, keeping the score 7-5.
Minnesota starter Scott Diamond fared even worse than Dempster, giving up six runs on eight hits while walking three in 4 1/3 innings. The southpaw needed 93 pitches to get those 13 outs and put the Twins in a three-run hole just four batters into the game.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single, and one out later, Pedroia drew a walk. Ortiz then blasted his first homer of the night into the right-field stands on what Diamond called "definitely a mistake pitch," part of a trend that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire lamented after the game.
"Diamond was pretty much behind and up in the zone and was never able to make adjustments like he normally does," Gardenhire said. "He couldn't get the ball where he wanted to."
Ortiz, on the other hand, seems to be able to do whatever he wants, especially against the Twins. After his six-RBI night, he's now hitting .332 with 15 home runs and 42 RBIs in 53 career games against his former team, including .500 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 10 games at Target Field. Still, he said it's no more satisfying to beat the team that released him after the 2002 season than any other opponent.
"It used to be, but not anymore. I just go about my business," said Ortiz, who cranked his second homer of the game and seventh of the year off reliever Anthony Swarzak in the seventh inning. "You guys have seen me -- I try to hit the moon every time I go to hit everywhere, so it's not new."
It's certainly not new to the Twins, who have to be growing tired of seeing Ortiz beat up on their pitching the last 10-plus years.
"The one guy we say not to let beat us is David Ortiz," Gardenhire said. "They have a lot of good hitters over there, but we keep saying, 'Stay away from this guy and don't give into him.' But he keeps sending souvenirs, so we need to make adjustments and pitch him better."