Papi (of course!) among Sox's top HRs in 2010s

December 26th, 2019

BOSTON -- A great home run is one that you saw -- either in person or on television -- and will never forget.

Or perhaps you heard it on the radio and could feel the significance immediately just by the shriek of your favorite announcer.

In the 2010s, the Red Sox had more of those than most teams. Here are my Top 10.

1. Papi slams Tigers
Oct. 13, 2013

The Red Sox appeared to be in big trouble early in the 2013 American League Championship Series. They had been stifled, 1-0, in Game 1. And in the eighth inning of Game 2, they were down, 5-1, and in danger of going to Detroit in a 2-0 series deficit with Justin Verlander lined up to start for the Tigers in Game 3. But was in the right place at the right time, belting a game-tying grand slam with two outs in the eighth against Tigers reliever Joaquin Benoit that had Fenway Park shaking with joy.

“David Ortiz! David Ortiz! David Ortiz!” exclaimed Dave O’Brien on Red Sox radio. Adding to the drama, Torii Hunter -- Ortiz’s close friend -- nearly made a spectacular catch on the play but instead landed in Boston’s bullpen and was shaken up. Speaking of the bullpen, an iconic image ensued from the homer, as a bullpen cop named Sean Horgan had his arms straight up in the air in celebration of the homer. In the same photo, you see Hunter’s legs upside down on the ledge of the bullpen. Considering the impact this homer had on an eventual World Series championship, it is easily one of the top moments in Red Sox history.

2. Victorino slams Tigers
Oct. 19, 2013

Is it possible that another grand slam less than a week later is the second biggest homer of the decade for the Red Sox? In my estimation, the answer is yes. Consider the situation. The Sox trailed, 2-1, with one out in the seventh. They were eight outs away from being forced to Game 7. But just like Big Papi six days earlier, a grand slam changed everything. This time it was who set off bedlam at Fenway by cranking one on top of the Monster against Jose Veras. The Red Sox went on to advance to the World Series with a 5-2 win.

3. Papi bashes No. 500
Sept. 12, 2015

A late-season tear by David Ortiz put him on the cusp of 500 on this Saturday night at Tampa Bay. In the first inning, the slugger unloaded for No. 499 -- a three-run shot against Matt Moore. In the fifth, with Moore still pitching, Ortiz reached the magic number with a 432-foot shot to right-center field. Though Ortiz would have preferred to reach the milestone at Fenway Park, there were plenty of Red Sox fans at Tropicana Field.

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The game was halted for several minutes -- with a thunderous standing ovation prevailing -- after Ortiz went deep, as the entire Red Sox bullpen sprinted in from left field to join the Boston dugout in exchanging hugs, handshakes and high-fives with Big Papi.

"All the names that you mention that are in the 500 club are legends, so to be part of it is an honor and I'm going to enjoy it," he said.

4. Holt completes historic cycle
Oct. 8, 2018

Hitting a homer off a position player (Austin Romine) is hardly the most impressive thing has done in his career. But nonetheless, the shot to right in the top of the ninth put him into the history books. With that home run at Yankee Stadium, Holt became the first player to hit for the cycle in MLB postseason history. Holt’s hitting heroics helped the Red Sox to a 16-1 win over their rivals, and a 2-1 lead in the ALDS. Boston clinched the series and a ticket to the ALCS the next night.

5. Jonny crushes Cardinals
Oct. 27, 2013

was originally not in the starting lineup for Game 4 of the World Series. But when Shane Victorino had back spasms, Gomes was inserted by manager John Farrell. Good thing for that. With the game tied at 1 in the sixth, Gomes roped a three-run homer that sent the Red Sox on their way to a 4-2 win. A loss would have pinned Boston in a 3-1 deficit in the World Series. Instead, the Sox ran the table over those final three games. The fact that the homer by Gomes came on Oct. 27 only added pain to the Cardinals, who had lost the World Series on that same date to the Red Sox nine years earlier.

6. Moreland missile sets up title
Oct. 27, 2018

Five years to the date of the homer by Jonny Gomes, the Red Sox got another monumental homer in Game 4 of the World Series. This time it was who came off the bench to smoke a three-run pinch-hit homer that turned a 4-0 lead by the Dodgers into a much more manageable 4-3 deficit. Not only did the Sox go on to a 9-6 win, but they won the World Series at Dodger Stadium the next night.

7. Devers dents Chapman
Aug. 13, 2017

Sunday night baseball games between the Red Sox and Yankees always seem to come with high drama, and this one was no different. , all of 20 years old, stepped to the plate with his team down, 2-1, in the top of the ninth. He was facing flame-throwing lefty closer Aroldis Chapman. Somehow, Devers got a hold of a 102.8-mph pitch for a game-tying homer to left-center field. It was the hardest pitch hit for a homer since MLB started tracking pitch velocity in 2008. It was the first time Chapman had been taken deep by a left-handed hitter since 2011.

8. Mookie’s epic at-bat
July 12, 2018

In 2018, with the Red Sox on their way to a 108-win season, anything seemed possible. This was never more evident than with the magical moment created against J.A. Happ of the Blue Jays. Betts worked a 13-pitch at-bat and punctuated it with a grand slam over the Monster.

As the normally low-key Betts reached first base, he twisted, turned and shouted with excitement toward his dugout and nearly lost his balance. This was the first time a player hit a grand slam in an at-bat of 13 pitches or more since Gary Scott did so for the Cubs on the 13th pitch against Philadelphia's Kyle Abbott on April 20, 1992.

9. Say hello to Daniel Nava
June 12, 2010

Most baseball fans had never even heard of until he was called up for this Saturday home game against the Phillies. The Red Sox initially acquired Nava for $1 from the Chico Outlaws of the Independent League. But he worked his way through the farm system to create a feel-good story. On the first pitch Nava saw in his career, he smoked a grand slam. Nava became the second player in MLB history to hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in his career. He would emerge into the starting left fielder for a World Series-winning Red Sox team in 2013.

10. Say good-bye to Big Papi
Sept. 30, 2016

The final weekend of the regular season was an unprecedented event. Rather than honoring the retiring David Ortiz just once, the Sox set up a separate ceremony before all three games. Ortiz is one of few athletes who retired while he was still at the top of his game, and he proved it on this night -- the opener of the series against the Blue Jays. With the game tied at 3 in the seventh, Ortiz clocked a go-ahead two-run homer against lefty Brett Cecil. It was the 541st and final homer of Ortiz’s legendary career -- and fittingly, a clutch one.