BOSTON – It had been almost four years since these kinds of David Ortiz late-inning dramatics.
The Red Sox trailed the Rangers until they were able to tie the score in the seventh inning. But, Ortiz needed just one pitch from Texas reliever Michael Kirkman to deliver the 6-3 win on a three-run, walk-off home run.
Ortiz’s blast scored Jonny Gomes, who went 4-for-5, and opened the ninth with a first-pitch double, and Dustin Pedroia, who was intentionally walked.
It was Ortiz’s 11th career game-winning home run, his 10th with the Sox, and his first since Aug. 26, 2009, against the White Sox.
Jacoby Ellsbury went 4-for-5 with two runs scored, his first four-hit game of the season, after returning from a five-game layoff with a tweaked groin.
Jon Lester went six innings, giving up three urn son seven hits and three walks with four strikeouts and two home runs.
Lester opened the second inning with a walk to A.J. Pierzynski before a home run to Jeff Baker. Adrian Beltre’s one-out, solo homer in the third gave Texas a 3-0 lead.
The Sox had plenty of chances against Rangers starter Derek Holland, with runners in every inning. But, they could manage just two runs against the Texas left-hander, as Pedroia’s two-out double in the third scored Jose Iglesias, who opened the inning with a walk, and Ellsbury, who singled.
The Sox offense saved Lester from what would have been in his third consecutive loss, tying the game in the seventh. Left-hander Robbie Ross began the inning in relief of Holland, giving up a double to Ellsbury and single to Gomes to put runners at the corners. After Pedroia struck out, Ortiz walked to load the bases, ending Ross’ outing.
Jason Frasor entered, getting Mike Napoli to ground out to first baseman Lance Berkman. But the Rangers couldn’t complete the 3-6-1 double play, with Ellsbury scoring the tying run.
Andrew Bailey pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn the win, improving to 2-0.
STAR OF THE GAME: David Ortiz
Ortiz had just one hit in the game, but it was the one that made a difference -- a walk-off, three-run home.
Ortiz is seventh all-time with 11 career walk-off home runs, most among active players. He has 10 with the Red Sox, the most in team history, and now two ahead of Jimmie Foxx. Overall he has 19 regular-season, walk-off hits in his career, tops among active players. He has 16 with the Sox and also has three career walk-off hits in the postseason (all in 2004, including two home runs).
He has batted 41 times immediately following an intentional walk in his career, and this was his first homer.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jacoby Ellsbury
After missing five games, Ellsbury went 4-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored. It was his first four-hit game of the season, and matched a career-high for the ninth time, most recently on Sept. 11, 2012, his birthday, against the Yankees. It was the first four-hit game of his career where all of his hits came off left-handed pitching.
He raised his average from .268 to .281 in the game.
Ellsbury has hit safely in six straight games since may 26, including reaching safely in eight of his last 10 plate appearances, and is batting .536, going 15-for-28 with six doubles, a triple, four RBI, six runs scored, and seven stolen bases in that span. He has led off the first inning of the game with a hit in each of his last five games. He has reached safely in his last 11 games since May 21, with hits in 10 of those games, batting .444, going 20-for-45, with six walks.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Michael Kirkman
Kirkman threw six pitches in the ninth but was unable to get an out. He gave up a first-pitch double to Jonny Gomes before intentionally walking Dustin Pedroia, and a first-pitch home run to Ortiz.
THE TURNING POINT: Kirkman’s first-pitch fastball to Ortiz in the ninth.
BY THE NUMBERS: 5: It was the Sox’ fifth walk-off win this season, tied for the most such wins in the American League.
QUOTE OF NOTE: “No, no, no, not at all. That’s part of the game. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.” –- David Ortiz, if he took offense to Dustin Pedroia being intentionally walked in front of him in the ninth inning