FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It hasn't taken David Ross long to take control behind the plate.
The catcher, who was signed to a two-year deal over the winter, was firm and vocal while catching Jon Lester Sunday, offering tips on mechanics during the outing, then huddling with Lester to go over some issues after the outing.
"He's an encouraging catcher," said Farrell. "Just talking to guys who have thrown to him, there's been such positive feedback on the interactions that they've had, either after a bullpen or while they're actually throwing a pen and David's comments in between pitches. He encourages every guy that he catches. I think pitchers feel that connection. They feel that support from him and that's one of the reasons that make him so valuable -- the ability to get the most out of a given pitcher.
"Not only is he smart in reading swings and getting a feel for a hitter in the batter's box when he's trying to make adjustments, but he speaks with confidence to the pitcher. And I think that any time a pitcher hears that, they feel it and trust a pitch that's called at a given moment."
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - David Ortiz hit a two-run homer in the first inning to set the RBI record for a player in his final season, and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Friday night for their ninth straight win
Ortiz's 37th homer came off Chris Archer (8-19) and raised his RBIs total to 124, one more than Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1920. The 40-year-old's 540th homer, his 300th on the road, struck an overhanging catwalk above the right-field seats.
Coming off four-game sweeps of the New York Yankees and Baltimore, the Red Sox began the night with a six-game lead over second-place Toronto in the AL East. They lowered their magic number to two for clinching a playoff berth.
Drew Pomeranz (3-5) allowed one run and four hits in five innings. Brad Ziegler, the fifth Boston reliever, got his fourth save after allowing a leadoff double in the ninth to Evan Longoria.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Ortiz has set the record for most RBIs in a final season.
Boston's 40-year-old designated hitter hit a two-run homer off Tampa Bay's Chris Archer in the first inning Friday, giving him 124 RBIs.
Ortiz has one more RBI than Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1920. Ortiz's 37 homers are two more than old mark for most in a final year, set by Dave Kingman in 1986.
Ortiz, who said in November this will be his final season, has hit 300 of his 540 home runs on the road.