MINNEAPOLIS – While starter Ryan Dempster and the Red Sox bullpen struggled, David Ortiz nearly singlehandedly delivered the win over the Twins Saturday night, as the Sox won, 12-5.
Ortiz went 3-for-4 with two home runs, three runs scored, six RBI, and a walk. He raised his average from .344 to .362.
He gave the Sox an early lead with his sixth home run of the season, a three-run shot in the first inning, scoring Jacoby Ellsbury, who singled, and Dustin Pedroia, who walked.
Despite the three-run lead, Dempster struggled. He lasted just 4 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season. He threw 127 pitches, a season high for a Sox starter. Dempster gave up five runs on eight hits and six walks, both season highs, with two strikeouts.
At the discretion of the official scorer, the win was awarded to Craig Breslow, the third of four Sox pitchers in the game, for being the most effective of the relief pitchers. It was Breslow’s first win of the season. He went 1 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up one hit and one walk.
In the second inning, Dempster walked the first two batters, with one eventually scoring, cutting the Sox lead to 3-1.
Ortiz struck again in the third, driving in Jonny Gomes, who walked, with a single.
The Sox put three more runs up in the fifth. Gomes and Pedroia led off with consecutive doubles. After Ortiz grounded out, moving Pedroia to third, Twins starter Scott Diamond was done, with Anthony Swarzak entering.
But he walked Napoli on four pitches. Daniel Nava’s sacrifice fly scored Pedroia. After Will Middlebrooks singled, Ryan Lavarnway singled to score Napoli, with Middlebrooks getting tagged out at third to end the inning.
Ortiz added his second home run of the game in the seventh, scoring Pedroia, who walked. After Napoli walked, Nava added a two-run homer of his own, putting the Sox up, 11-5.
Diamond took the loss, going 4 1/3 innings, giving up six runs on eight hits and three walks, with strikeout, and one home run.
The Twins, meanwhile, were given ample opportunities by Sox pitchers, but failed to capitalize. They went 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position, leaving 14 runners on base. In the second, third, and sixth innings the left the bases loaded.
After giving up three runs in the fifth, recording two outs, Dempster was done, with Clayton Mortensen reliving him. Mortensen went two-thirds of an inning, giving up two hits and a walk, with no runs. He threw 22 pitches, fewer than half (10) were strikes.
Breslow relieved Mortensen with one out in the sixth, walking Plouffe, his first batter, to load the bases. Breslow got out of the inning, though, getting Hicks to pop out to Pedroia in short right field. Ryan Doumit, who was on third, attempted to tag and score. But Pedroia threw to Lavarnway, who held onto the ball as Doumit bowled into him, ending the inning.
Alex Wilson, went two scoreless innings, giving up a hit with two strikeouts.
AT A GLANCE
STAR OF THE GAME: David Ortiz
Ortiz went 3-for-4 with two home runs, three runs scored, six RBI, matching a career high, and a walk. He raised his average from .344 to .362. It was his 40th career multi-home run game, the first this season.
In 10 games at Target Field, Ortiz is batting .500, going 19-for-38, with five home runs and 16 RBI. This was his eighth career game recording three or more hits against his former team.
Ortiz has three home runs in five games on the current road trip with at least one RBI in each of those games, and 12 RBI total.
HONORABLE MENTION: Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia went 2-for-3 with three runs scored, an RBI, and two walks, raising his average to .341. He also made a nice play on Aaron Hicks’ pop-up in the sixth with the bases loaded, throwing out Ryan Doumit trying to score, completing the inning-ending double play.
He extended his hitting streak to 10 games. In that stretch he is hitting .410, going 16-for-39, with five doubles, five RBI, and 11 runs scored.
THE GOAT: Scott Diamond
The Twins lefty started the game, going 4 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on eight hits and three walks with one strikeout and one home run.
On May 7 at Fenway Park, he went seven scoreless innings, giving up three hits, with no walks and two strikeouts.
THE TURNING POINT:
With one out in the sixth inning, and runners on first and second, the Sox leading by two runs, Craig Breslow relieved Clayton Mortensen. Breslow walked Trevor Plouffe to load the bases. Aaron Hicks popped up to Dustin Pedroia in short right field, with Ryan Doumit tagging and attempting to score from third. But Pedroia threw to catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who was bowled over by Doumit, but hung on to the ball, completing the inning-ending double play.
In the next half inning, the Sox scored four runs, putting enough distances between themselves and the Twins.
BY THE NUMBERS: 127
Dempster threw 127 pitches in his 4 2/3 innings. It was the first time he has thrown that many pitches since Sept. 13, 2011, when he threw 128 while with the Cubs against the Reds. It was also a season high for a Sox pitcher, and are tied for second-most in Target Field history.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
"Used to be but not any more. I just go about my business. You guys see me trying to hit the moon everytime I hit anyway. So it’s nothing new." --David Ortiz, on hitting against his former team.