Ortiz in elite company as he approaches No. 400

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Ortiz in elite company as he approaches No. 400

He provided half of the Red Sox offense Monday night, which seems about right when you think of it, since that seems to have been the case most nights this season.

On a team ravaged by injuries, he's been the one constant. There's been no Manny Ramirez to protect him, or, for that matter, no Adrian Gonzalez, or at least, not the Adrian Gonzalez (.722 OPS) he or anyone else expected.

Still, the numbers pile up for David Ortiz. On Monday, he belted two homers and three RBI in a 9-6 loss to Toronto.

The homers were the lone bit of excitement for the Sox, and if they didn't help the Red Sox win on this particular night, they did help Ortiz climb the historical ladder some.

The first one, rocketed into the bleachers in right, moved him out of a tie with Joe Carter, giving him 397 for his career. The second, a booming shot into the bleachers in straightaway center, was No. 398, placing him in a tie with Dale Murphy for 51st place on the all-time list.

For the season, the second homer was No. 20, making it 10 straight years in which Ortiz has reached that number since coming to the Red Sox, trailing only Dwight Evans and Jim Rice (11 each) and Ted Williams (16).

Since 2003, only one player has had more multi-homer games in all of baseball: Albert Pujols, who has 40.

The two-homer game was the 39th of his career and 37th in a Red Sox uniform, tying him with Williams for the frachise record.

Nearing four hundred homers, catching up to Rice and Pujols, and being linked with the game's all-time greatest hitter -- this is the kind of rarefied air that Ortiz is breathing these days.

"I must be,'' said Ortiz, breaking into a huge smile, "a bad mother-(expletive).''

Indeed he must.

This year, Ortiz is hitting homers at his fastest rate since 2006, when he snapped Jimmy Foxx's franchise record for most homers by a Red Sox in a season.

Before the season is at its halfway point, Ortiz is on pace to hit 40, something no Red Sox player his age (36) or older has ever accomplished.

And, no Red Sox player age 36 or older has ever hit 40 home runs in a season. Williams, naturally, holds the Red Sox record of 38 in 1957 when he was 38.

"When you attach your name to a legend like that . . .,'' said Ortiz. "It's just something that you never think about it. I never thought about anything like that. I came here to play baseball. Ted Williams is a legend. I never thought about (matching what he did).''

Sometime relatively soon -- perhaps before the Red Sox leave for their West Coast trip Wednesday night, given that he's homered five times in his last seven games -- Ortiz will become the 50th player to hit 400 homers in his career.

Even as the steroid era has devalued some milestones, the 400-homer plateau is an impressive one, and Ortiz confesses that he's taken a look at those who've joined that club, while noting some who didn't gain entrance.

"I was looking at a lot of big names,'' he said, ''and man, I mean, there were a lot of big power hitters who never hit four hundred. So I guess it's pretty good company.''

Ortiz would like to play another two years, and should he continue to pile up homers at the rate in which he's hit them the last few seasons, he might muster a run at No. 500.

Those numbers seem abstract for now, and because he's not finished, he chooses not to give much thought to his own standing, his own legacy.

That perspective will come later.

"Right now, I look at (No. 400) as just another number,'' he said. "But I'm pretty sure that when I stop playing and start focusing on different people's numbers and look at myself and where I stand with some great players, it's going to be pretty nice.''

Red Sox' seven-run rally in seventh keys 9-4 win over Rangers

Red Sox' seven-run rally in seventh keys 9-4 win over Rangers

BOSTON -- Chris Sale was perfectly happy to sit back and watch the Red Sox hitters do the work this time.

Sale cruised into the fifth inning, then was rewarded in the seventh when the Boston batters erupted for seven runs on their way to a 9-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

Sale (5-2) struck out six, falling short in his attempt to become the first pitcher in baseball's modern era to strike out at least 10 batters in nine straight games in one season.

But he didn't seem to mind.

"It was fun," said the left-hander, who received more runs of support in the seventh inning alone than while he was in any other game this season. "You get run after run, hit after hit. When we score like that, it's fun."

Dustin Pedroia waved home the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch, then singled in two more as the Red Sox turned a 3-1 deficit into a five-run lead and earned their third straight victory. Sam Travis had two singles for the Red Sox in his major league debut.

"I was a little nervous in the first inning," he said. "I'd be lying to you guys if I said I wasn't."

Mike Napoli homered for Texas, which has lost three of four to follow a 10-game winning streak.

FOR SALE

Sale, who also struck out 10 or more batters in eight straight games in 2015 with the White Sox, remains tied for the season record with Pedro Martinez. (Martinez had 10 straight in a span from 1999-2000.)

After scoring four runs in support of Sale in his first six starts, the Red Sox have scored 27 while he was in the game in his last five. He took a no-hitter into the fifth, but finished with three earned runs, six hits and a walk in 7 1/3 innings.

"Guys pulled through for me when I was probably pretty mediocre," he said.

NO RELIEF

Sam Dyson (1-5) faced seven batters in relief of Martin Perez and gave up four hits, three walks - two intentional - and a wild pitch without retiring a batter.

"Martin threw the ball really well and I came in with two guys on and couldn't get an out," Dyson said. "Sometimes they hit them where they are, and sometimes they hit them where they aren't."

Asked if he felt any different, he said: "Everything's the same.

"If I get my (expletive) handed to me, it's not like anything's wrong," he said. "Any more amazing questions from you all?"

SEVEN IN THE SEVENTH

It was 3-1 until the seventh, when Andrew Benintendi and Travis singled with one out to chase Perez. Mitch Moreland singled to make it 3-2, pinch-hitter Josh Rutledge singled to tie it and, after Mookie Betts was intentionally walked to load the bases, Moreland scored on a wild pitch to give Boston the lead.

Pedroia singled in two more runs, Xander Bogaerts doubled and Hanley Ramirez was intentionally walked to load the bases. Dyson was pulled after walking Chris Young to force in another run.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx got Benintendi to pop up foul of first base, but Napoli let it fall safely - his second such error in the game. Benintendi followed with a sacrifice fly that made it 8-3 before Travis was called out on strikes to end the inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: 2B Rougned Odor was shaken up when he dived for Betts' grounder up the middle in the third inning. He was slow getting up. After being looked at by the trainer, he remained in the game.

Red Sox: LHP David Price made his second rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket, allowing six runs - three earned - seven hits and a walk. He struck out four in 3 2/3 innings, throwing 89 pitches, 61 for strikes, and left without addressing reporters. 3B Pablo Sandoval also played in the game, going 2 for 4 with two runs.

"He felt fine physically," said Red Sox manager John Farrell, who added he would talk to Price on Thursday morning to determine how to proceed. "We had a scout there who liked what he saw."

UP NEXT:

Rangers: Will send RHP Nick Martinez (1-2) to the mound in the finale of the three-game series.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (3-3) looks to snap a personal two-game losing streak.

David Price dodges media after second rough rehab start

David Price dodges media after second rough rehab start

If only David Price could pitch as well as he dodges the media.

The Red Sox lefty bailed on a typical post-start media session with reporters in Pawtucket on Wednesday, after his second minor league rehab outing in Triple-A was another dud.

As Price comes back from a nondescript elbow injury, difficulty retiring minor league hitters doesn't combine well with difficulty facing questions. He sat in the mid-90s in his second rehab start with Pawtucket, but allowed six runs, three earned, in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one.

The PawSox were at home at McCoy Stadium against Triple-A Louisville, a Reds affiliate, and Price heard some heckling. Postgame, he wanted to hear nothing, apparently.

Per CSNNE’s Bill Messina, who was on site in Pawtucket, the media was waiting outside the clubhouse for Price, as is standard. 

PawSox media relations told the media to go to the weight room, where Price would meet them. As media headed that way, PR alerted reporters that Price was leaving and did not want to talk. Media saw a car leaving, but there was no interview.

On the mound, Price’s velocity is there, but the command is not. The Red Sox would be unwise to bring back Price before really two more minor league starts — one to show he can do well, another to show he can repeat it.

Price’s ERA in two starts for Pawtucket is 9.53. He’s gone 5 2/3 innings and allowed six earned runs, while striking out eight and walking two overall.