Papi for Two

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Papi for Two

There was a time not so long ago when late-October really meant something to Red Sox fans. It was the season for comebacks and trophies and the most important games in franchise history. From time to time, it also triggered levels of pain and devastation that would last throughout the winter, but win or lose, it was always memorable.

Anyway, that was then. These days, the Sox haven't sniffed late-October since George W. Bush's last year in office. Forget memorable baseball, it's now the season for leaking gossip and freaking out about the Pats.

But even if they aren't on the field, the Sox are looking to make this October count. First, by turning the page with a new manager. And now, by bringing back a major piece to the puzzle. According the Gordon Edes, the Sox are currently finalizing the terms of a two-year deal with David Ortiz. The money hasn't been announced, but Edes speculates that Ortiz will get about 25M. More importantly, however, THE YEARS!

After two seasons of constant subtle and not-so-subtle bitching about disrespect and a lack of security, Ortiz has finally broken through. He can finally be happy. And as long as he's healthy, that happiness should help make the clubhouse a better and more productive place to be.

Of course, I never thought this would happen. Over the last few months, I've written a couple posts where I suggested that the Sox wouldn't give Ortiz more than one year. I just didn't think they'd need to. And the truth is, they probably still don't. I highly doubt there's another team out there ready to break the bank on a multi-year deal for Ortiz. So why did the Sox do it?

Maybe they realized that they need Ortiz in the line-up, but that with all baggage and drama, another one-year deal would do more harm than good? Maybe they just think he deserves it and will perform at a top level for the next two years? Maybe John Henry had a little too much wine on the yacht this morning, and just felt like being nice.

Whatever the reason, the end result is two more years of David Ortiz.

Hopefully healthy, and definitely a lot happier.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Pedroia leads Red Sox to 11th win in a row, 3-2 over Rays in 10

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Pedroia leads Red Sox to 11th win in a row, 3-2 over Rays in 10

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia used nifty baserunning to score from first base on David Ortiz's double in the 10th inning and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Sunday for their 11th consecutive win.

Pedroia singled off Eddie Gamboa (0-1) to start the inning. The relay throw on Ortiz's hit to right center beat Pedroia to plate but he avoided Luke Maile's first tag. Pedroia's momentum carried him past the plate and when he went back to touch it, Maile was charged with an error when the ball dropped out his glove on another tag try.

Pedroia hit a solo homer and Mookie Betts extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI single for the Red Sox, who secured at least an AL wild-card spot Saturday night. Boston's magic number to clinch the division title dropped to two.

Joe Kelly (4-0) went 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out a career-high 13 in 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander and Heath Hembree combined to strikeout 11 consecutive batters to establish a major league-record. The New York Mets held the previous mark when Tom Seaver struck out 10 in a row against San Diego on Apr. 22, 1970.

Boston also set a club record by striking out 21 through nine. Kelly added two more in the 10th.

There was a moment of silence before the game for Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident early Sunday. Fernandez played high school baseball in nearby Tampa, Florida after defecting from Cuba.

The Rays planned to honor Ortiz before his final game at Tropicana Field but canceled the ceremony at Ortiz's request after Fernandez's death. He had three hits in five at-bats and moved past Frank Thomas for 107th place on the career list with 2,469 hits.

Ortiz has 35 homers and 90 RBIs at Tropicana Field, which is the most of any visiting player. Alex Rodriguez is next with 30 homers and 73 RBIs.

HONORING BIG PAPI

Rays 3B Evan Longoria and RHP Chris Archer informally presented Ortiz with an oil painting of his 500th home run, which he hit at Tropicana Field last season. Ortiz was also given 34 special handmade Diamond Crown Maximus cigars and $5,000 donations in his name to the Miracle League of St. Petersburg, Florida and the University of South Florida Latino scholarship program.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Ortiz will play at Yankee Stadium for the final time during a three-game series against New York that starts Tuesday night. "Playing baseball in New York is something that is very special," Ortiz said. LHP David Price (17-8) will start for the Red Sox Tuesday night.

Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (7-11) will face White Sox RHP James Shields (3-11) Monday night in the first of four games in Chicago.

© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.