With RBI double, Papi notches career hit No. 2,000
BOSTON -- Less than a week after David Ortiz was in an 0-for-23 slump, he's gotten hot again.
History was being made so often during Wednesday's 20-4 win over the Tigers that it almost took away from the significance. Eight homers were hit by the Red Sox at Fenway Park for just the second time in history. One after another, they looked easier and easier.
And yet with one swing, Ortiz reminded baseball fans why history is rarely made.
Ortiz had a big night, going 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs. But it was his sixth-inning double that put the game on hold so the 33,720 in attendance could honor the longtime designated hitter with a standing ovation that seemed to last forever.
Ortiz had collected his 2,000th career hit.
"It's great to be able to get to that milestone and accomplish numbers," he said. "At some point when you're not playing baseball, you look at them and thank God for giving you a nice career."
Ortiz is the 18th active player to reach 2,000 hits and just the 39th player in baseball history to have done it while also submitting 400 homers and 1,400 RBIs. He joins Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols as the only active players to have reached all three marks.
"I'm a fan of the game; congratulations to David," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "That's a heck of a milestone. I'm sure the Red Sox fans are proud of him. I'm sure he's proud of himself. He's had a wonderful, wonderful career. He's a very popular player here, a very kind man, really. I'm very happy for him. It came against the wrong team, but that's OK."
The 37-year-old has been consistent in his ascension through the record books. It took him 1,002 games to reach 1,000 hits. In that span, he also hit 218 homers.
It took Ortiz another 946 games to get to 2,000 hits, and during that span he hit 207 homers.
With a .313 average, .963 OPS, 26 homers and 89 RBIs this season, Ortiz is earning his two-year, $26 million contract extension just as the Red Sox expected he would if health permitted.
Manager John Farrell said he couldn't even imagine filling out a lineup card without Ortiz's name in the middle.
"I say that probably from a bigger-picture standpoint, what he's meant to this organization, the city, being involved in two World Series already, the fixture that he's been for a number of years in the middle of the lineup," Farrell said. "And more than anything, it was a matter of health, not production or projection what this year would have been. It was just a matter of him getting healthy, and obviously he has."
With two homers in the game, Ortiz also passed Billy Williams for 47th all-time with 427 career homers.
Ortiz has hit 25 homers nine times, all with the Red Sox, and is second in club history to Ted Williams, who hit 25 homers 14 times. Ortiz and Alfonso Soriano are the only two Major Leaguers with at least 20 homers in all 12 seasons since 2002.
"He's a really good role model," said third baseman Will Middlebrooks. "He takes all young guys under his wing and he treats us like we have 10 years in the big leagues.
"You watch him on TV and he portrays the guy he is. He's a big teddy bear unless you're pitching against him. Other than that, he'll come give you a big bear hug and he's there to help you out."