HR #28 & 29

A SAD END TO A RECORD SEASON
Home run derby at the Trop

July 6, 2006 ... On Tuesday night, David Ortiz lost a baseball in the seats. In the fifth inning tonight, Ortiz made a James Shields changeup disappear into a chairback in left-center. In the ninth, with the Sox clinging to a 6-5 lead and the bases full, Ortiz calmly but violently went down to get a Shawn Camp sinker and turned it into a souvenir.

Ortiz, whose two home runs gave him 29, to go along with 82 RBIs, is on a pace that computes to 57 homers and 160 RBIs over a full season.

Ortiz stood at his locker, after knocking in half of the Sox' runs in a 12-5 win that helped avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the suddenly dangerous Devil Rays. In Ortiz's initial two at-bats, Shields, a 24-year-old rookie, got Ortiz out on changeups  for a pop up and a line out into the shift. The third at-bat Ortiz went up looking changeup and got it, immediately. Ortiz hammered it to left for just his third opposite-field homer of the season among the 28 he'd hit to that point. That two-run shot upped the Sox' lead to 5-1 in what turned into a demolition (home run) derby.

The teams combined for seven home runs, accounting for 13 of the 17 runs. Manny Ramirez, in the first, with Kevin Youkilis aboard, lashed at a belt-high, full-count fastball for homer No. 24 of his season, and a 2-0 lead.

Tampa Bay's Aubrey Huff, batting cleanup despite 4-for-42 (.095) career numbers against Tim Wakefield, homered leading off the bottom of the fourth, shaving the lead to 2- 1. The Sox expanded that to 5-1 in the fifth. Doug Mirabelli, leading off, cranked a home run to left.

Ortiz, with two outs and Loretta on base, homered. The 5-1 lead did not stand for long. Carl Crawford, with two outs in the bottom of the inning, homered into the catwalk in right. The word "into" applies because the ball never came down. It was, according to the Devil Rays, the sixth fair ball hit into a Tropicana Field catwalk this season, half of those coming in this four-game series. That cut it to 5-2.

Mirabelli, with two outs in the sixth, singled for his second hit of the game. Before tonight, he had just eight hits in 55 at-bats. The Sox' backup catcher, in 2004, hit .281 with a homer every 17.8 at-bats. Since the beginning of 2005, he was batting .173 with a homer every 30.4 at-bats. With much exertion he came all the way around to score on Alex Gonzalez's triple to right-center. That was just the seventh three-base hit by a Sox player this season. Sox 6, Devil Rays 2.

Huff, again making Maddon look as intelligent as his professorial spectacles would suggest, doubled off Wakefield to begin the Tampa Bay sixth and scored when Jorge Cantu turned on a knuckleball that hung over the inside corner of the plate. His two-run shot pulled Tampa Bay within 6-4 and bounced Wakefield after 90 pitches and five innings-plus (4 H, 4 R, 3 BBs, 3 K's, 3 HRs).

The appearance was Wakefield's briefest since his nightmarish season debut, when he lasted just 3 2/3 innings April 4 at Texas. Wakefield, who has battled a sore lower back, contended with a similar problem tonight.  Despite leaving with a tenuous lead he did manage the win, improving to 7-8 with a 4.05 ERA.

Sox manager Terry Francona, who has committed to using the youngsters in his bullpen over the last three weeks, went to Craig Hansen, who'd fanned all three batters he faced Wednesday night. He began by whiffing Jonny Gomes and lasted 1 2/3 innings, walking one batter in the sixth and one in the seventh. Francona lifted Hansen for lefty Javier Lopez against the lefthanded-hitting Huff. He singled sharply to right, for his third hit and second RBI, closing the gap to 6-5. Francona turned it over to Manny Delcarmen, who was impressive in striking out Cantu to end the inning.

Following a scoreless eighth the Sox turned it on in the ninth. Gonzalez, who with three hits upped his average to .272, led off with a single. Youkilis, on a hit and run, then lunged at an outside pitch and knocked it into the hole at second base, with Gonzalez taking third. Loretta walked. And Ortiz struck.

The Sox scored two more after the slam, sending 11 batters to the plate in the inning. With that the Sox secured the win and avoided being swept in a four-game series. The last time that happened: September 1998.

Ortiz's six RBIs tied a career high, set on Aug. 12, 2005.  The grand slam was the sixth of Ortiz's career. The previous five, including one hit on June 21st this season, were hit at Fenway. He homered twice in a game for the 23d time in his career, 21st time with the Sox, and third time this season.

 

at Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg) ...

R

H

E

BOSTON RED SOX

2

0

0

0

3

1

0

0

6

 

12

11

0

TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS

0

0

0

1

1

2

1

0

0

 

5

5

0

W-Tim Wakefield (7-8)
L-James Shields (4-2)
Attendance 19,330


2B-Gonzalez (Bost), Huff (TB)
3B-Gonzalez (Bost)
HR-
M.Ramirez (Bost), Mirabelli (Bost), Ortiz (2)(Bost),
Huff (TB), Crawford (TB), Cantu (TB)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AB

R

H

AVG

 

 

Kevin Youkilis 1b 5 2 1 .304  

 

Mark Loretta 2b 3 2 0 .305  

 

David Ortiz dh 4 2 2 .277  

 

Manny Ramirez lf 4 1 2 .310  

 

Gabe Kapler pr/lf 0 1 0 .370  

 

Trot Nixon rf 4 0 0 .323  

 

Mike Lowell 3b 5 0 1 .298  

 

Coco Crisp cf 4 1 0 .254  

 

Doug Mirabelli c 4 2 2 .173  

 

Alex Gonzalez ss 5 1 3 .272  
               
    IP H ER BB SO  
  Tim Wakefield 5 4 4 3 3  
  Craig Hanson 1.2 0 1 2 2  
  Javier Lopez - 1 0 0 0  
  Mny Delcarmen 0.1 0 0 0 1  
  Mike Timlin 1 0 0 0 0  
  Jon Papelbon 1 0 0 0 1  

 

 

         

 

 

 

2006 A.L. EAST STANDINGS

 

 

BOSTON RED SOX 51 32 -

 

 

New York Yankees 48 35 3

 

 

Toronto Blue Jays 47 38 5

 

 

Baltimore Orioles 39 48 14

 

 

Tampa Bay Rays 38 48 14 1/2