Historic hit makes Papi Man of the Flour

Red Sox slugger becomes third player to have 500 homers and 600 doubles

May 14th, 2016

BOSTON -- At 40 years old, David Ortiz maintains the swagger of a superstar and the power of a Hall of Famer. On Saturday, he reminded everyone that no one is better when the game is on the line.

Ortiz tied the game in the ninth inning with a two-out triple and won it in the 11th inning with a two-out double, sending the Red Sox to a 6-5, extra-innings victory over the Astros at Fenway Park.

As he approached second base after his game-winning hit, Ortiz was doused in flour by his teammates -- an idea that was concocted by right-hander Joe Kelly. Then, as Ortiz was preparing for an on-field interview, first baseman Hanley Ramirez and catcher Christian Vazquez gave him a blue sports drink bath.

It was fitting that the Red Sox celebrated like kids during Play Ball Weekend, with Major League Baseball and its clubs hosting events from coast to coast. Boston has held events all week, including a pregame photo op for children on Saturday.

With the double, he joined Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds as the only players with 600 doubles and 500 homers. He also hit career home run No. 513 in the third inning, surpassing Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for No. 22 all time.

"We travel to all these ballparks and he's presented gifts," manager John Farrell said of Ortiz's farewell tour. "But I think our fans are getting the greatest gift of all, and that is seeing what David is doing game in and game out."

"I was trying to tackle him, but I couldn't do it," Ramirez said. "He was so happy and full of energy."

Ortiz spoke with several TV and radio networks after the game, but he bolted out of the clubhouse before speaking with reporters to attend his daughter's birthday party.

In the ninth inning with Boston trailing, 5-4, Ortiz batted with Xander Bogaerts on first base and two outs against Astros closer Luke Gregerson. He fouled back the first pitch before ripping a low-and-outside sinker to center field past a diving Jake Marisnick, chugging all the way to third for the 19th triple of his 20-year career.

"Last night, I [had] a game plan [against Gregerson], just missed that pitch," Ortiz told WEEI. "Today, same game plan, try to get [the] sinker down and away. I just stick with my game plan."

Two innings later, Bogaerts stood on first base in a 5-5 game with two outs and Ortiz up again. With two strikes, Bogaerts advanced to second on a wild pitch, and Houston right-hander Michael Feliz elected to pitch to Ortiz with first base open.

Feliz got burned -- Ortiz tagged a 2-2 changeup off the center-field wall to win the game.

"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. said of the Astros' decision not to walk Ortiz.

Ortiz has 10 home runs, 33 RBIs and a 1.101 OPS on the year. Saturday was the first time he had hit a double, a triple and a home run in the same game.

"The way he's doing it right now with power, the extra-base hits, at his age -- it's greatness, man," Bogaerts said. "It's not no bloop hits either. It's not those cheap hits I get. He's just hitting balls far."

During his on-field interview, Ortiz was asked whether he might consider playing another year after 2016. The slugger laughed and paused. Then Big Papi delivered his message to 37,430 adoring fans.

"You know what? Let's make sure we win the World Series this year," he said. "How about that?"