Ortiz continues to rip through World Series

Ortiz continues to rip through World Series
October 29, 2013, 2:15 am
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GAME 5: RED SOX 3, CARDS 1

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ST. LOUIS -- David Ortiz had just had another one of those games: run-scoring double, single, single, lifting his World Series batting average to a stunning .733 (11-for-15).

In the post-game interview room following a 3-1 Red Sox win over the St. Louis Cardinals, a reporter, quite naturally, found these five games to be a remarkable stretch and wondered if Ortiz could, over his 17-year career, ever recall a similar span where he "felt this locked in."

With a comedian's timing and a deadpan delivery, Ortiz didn't hesitate with his response.

"I did it, like, 20 times this season," said Ortiz.

The room erupted in laughter, and teammate Jon Lester, seated next to Ortiz on the podium added: "That pretty much sums it up."

Actually, the numbers, gaudy as they may be, don't quite sum up Ortiz's World Series brilliance.

"What planet is that guy from?" asked David Ross.

Good question. In the first five games, Ortiz already has 11 hits. The last player to get 11 hits in a Series was Lance Berkman, but he did so in a seven-game series. In World Series that have ended after five games, no player in history has ever totaled more than nine hits.

The World Series record for most hits is 13, held by three players, including Marty Barrett, the last to do it in 1986. At the rate he's going, Ortiz may match that by the third inning Wednesday night.

And it's not just the hits. It's how he's getting them, and when.

In the first inning Monday night, Ortiz came to the plate with Dustin Pedroia (double) on second and first base open. Ortiz has been so lethal this Series that there seemed to be the thought that the Cardinals and manager Mike Matheny may have put him on base.

Intentional walks are rare in the first inning, but then, so is Ortiz.

Instead, Adam Wainwright not only pitched to him, but threw him a first-pitch strike - a cutter on the inner half. Ortiz promptly turned on it and sent a rocket past stationary first baseman Allen Craig, good for a double and a run scored.

"We're going to make him tough pitches," said Matheny. "And sometimes, we get more of the plate than we're looking to get. Sometimes, they go out of the zone to get it. Right there, it was the idea of making it tough and unfortunately, he found the spot."

Not for the last time, either. In the fourth inning, Ortiz led off and again got a first-pitch strike. Again, he laced it to right, this time for a single.

After lashing a lineout to center in the sixth, snapping a streak of reaching base nine straight times, tying a World Series record, he added one more single against the shift in the eighth off reliever Carlos Martinez.

In his career in the World Series, Ortiz is now 20-for-42 (.476), the best average among players with at least 50 plate appearances. The double, meanwhile, gave him nine career extra-base hits in the World Series, a number topped only by Derek Jeter (11) among active players.

And the run-scoring double in the first gave him his 14th World Series RBI, the most among active players, tying him with Dwight Evans for the Red Sox' all-time record.

Finally, Ortiz became the first American League player in World Series history to post three or more hits in three straight games. Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock is the only other player to achieve that.

Surprised? Ortiz isn't.

"I was born for this," he said.

Five games into his third straight great World Series performance, it's hard to take issue with that.