SWEPT AWAY BY A "RALLY MONKEY" ...
Ortiz homers and Ellsbury ties a record
May 20, 2009 ...
David Ortiz exhaled in an 8-3 victory, and the Red Sox exhaled with
him. His first home run of the season sparked a historic, homer-happy
fifth inning before 38,099 at Fenway Park and served as the lodestone
to Boston's whipping of the first-place Toronto Blue Jays, humbled
twice in two nights and one loss from being swept to within an inch
of second place.
Youkilis, on deck, thrust both hands in the air when Ortiz's first home run of
the caromed off the back wall in left-center. Once the crowd finally calmed and
Ortiz had retreated from his curtain call, Youkilis drilled a single. Jason Bay
followed with a home run that landed in the parking lot behind the Green
Monster, presumably with scorchmarks from reentering the atmosphere. Up came
Mike Lowell, and he whaled a home run into the first row of the Monster seats.
Jays removed Cecil and summoned Shawn Camp. Rocco Baldelli - 0 for his last 14 -
clobbered a line drive into the gap in left-center. He raced to third for a
triple. Varitek, who led off the inning with a home run, struck out to end the
inning. That left the damage to be surveyed: a team-record four home runs in an
inning, done for the 11th time and the first time since April 22, 2007, when
they ripped four straight against the Yankees; five homers total off of Cecil,
which matched a Blue Jays record; six runs; seven hits; one enormous burden
ended with the Red Sox 1 1/2 games out of first place (for what that's worth on
May 21), having fired a salvo at Toronto in their first series of the season.
The Blue Jays entered having avoided the Red Sox and Rays this season and had
lost a series against the Yankees. They had taken first place in the American
League East, but they have to wonder if they really control the division.
started the night's fireworks in the third inning, his at-bat a precursor to the
haymakers to come. Varitek is on the team because of his defense. Any offense
from Varitek is found money, but there has been a surprising amount this season.
He launched a 2-2 pitch over the Green Monster, his sixth home run this season
and his third batting right-handed. His seventh and fourth, respectively, would
come later, when he rocked a homer to dead center.
hit two home runs in one game seven times time before. The last time was Aug.
16, 2005. He hit only 13 last season. His seven ranks second among catchers in
the major leagues.
made the offensive explosion count, with plenty of help from Jacoby Ellsbury.
Penny allowed zero runs for his first six innings, then allowed two in the
seventh, which he could not escape. Penny, the fifth starter, has five quality
starts, the same as No. 1 Josh Beckett.
night might have been different if not for Ellsbury, whom Blue Jays batters may
still be cursing this morning. The game's first ball put in play sent Ellsbury
drifting back, and he snagged it. The second ball put in play forced Ellsbury to
turn, sprint, and snare the ball just before running into the wall. The start
was fitting. Ellsbury recorded nine of Penny's first 13 outs, and 10 of 17
overall. By the end of the game, which Ellsbury finished with a catch, he had 12
putouts, tying a major league record.
The Red Sox
avoided any pesky Toronto outfielders by simply mashing the ball over the fence.
Bay's bomb gave him 12 for the season, two off Carlos Pena's league lead. The
one player in the middle of the Red Sox lineup who didn't hit a home run was one
of the most promising developments of the night. Making his return from the
15-day disabled list, Youkilis went 3 for 5, all singles. Youkilis returned at
the perfect time. He had the best seat in Fenway for the season's loudest roar
and happiest moment. He was the second player to wrap Ortiz in a bear hug once
he crossed the plate, the first player to hit knowing Ortiz's homerless streak
had become a dead issue.