Pedroia lets his play do the talking

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Pedroia lets his play do the talking

BALTIMORE With a group of reporters huddled around his locker in the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards, Dustin Pedroia finished putting on his jacket, popped in his ear buds and stone-facedly walked past every questioner on his way out to the Red Sox team bus.

Pedroia had collected two hits, scored a run, knocked in another run and sparked the Red Sox offense with his antics, energy and uncanny ability to make plays that win ballgames. He did just that in the fifth inning when he tagged up from third and just barely beat an Adam Jones thrown from center field that arrived at home plate just on time.

Hes trying to leave it on the field every single night," manager Bobby Valentine said. "Hes that competitor that makes a team go. He never stops. He hits all pitches. He makes all plays. How hes not on an All-Star team player every year is beyond me. I know this year it was because of the thumb thing, of course.

Thats one of the best arms in the league and it was shallow center field. It seems like he can run just as fast as he has to to be safe. Thats pretty special.

If Pedroia had been gunned down there, it could have been a gut punch for the Sox. Instead, Pedroia scored, let out a primal scream, pumped his feet and immediately lifted the energy in his own dugout en route to a 6-3 win over the Orioles.

I dont know how much more energy he could bring because if he did then he would probably die, said Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He wants to win. The same thing as everybody, but hes the little guy that just goes hard all the time. Its something you can always feed off of. Its fun to watch him play.

His play spoke for itself, and his quiet exit from the clubhouse left his teammates to fill in the blanks with compliments, attaboys and verbal bouquets of all shapes and sizes. Perhaps hes keeping silent now after he was leveled by sharp criticism and harsh accusations in the Yahoo! Sports story accounting players attempting to get Bobby Valentine fired. Perhaps hes just done talking, aside from his play on the field.

He plays as hard as anybody Ive ever seen, said Cody Ross. Even on the ball that I hit to left field that he scored on, he was halfway to third by the time the ball got to the fielders glove and hes trucking as hard as he can.

Hes doing it with the bat too. Its a lot of fun when hes on his game.

Whatever the case hell need to be one of the pivotal guys if things are going to start changing for a Sox team that needs to play .750 baseball the rest of the way. The Sox need accountability, they need urgency and they need non-stop energy and Pedroia brings all those things when its harnessed in one direction.

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

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Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

BOSTON - Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon hit two-run homers and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 on Friday to cap a night in which David Ortiz's number became the latest retired at Fenway Park.

It was the 250th career home run for Ramirez, a good friend of Ortiz who was also born in the Dominican Republic. Leon finished with three hits and four RBIs.

The homers helped provide a nice cushion for Rick Porcello (4-9), who gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. It was the 13th straight start Porcello has gone at least six innings.

Alex Meyer (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Los Angeles scored three runs in the seventh, but cooled off after Porcello left.

Boston got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and then getting two more runs off wild pitches by Meyer.

Ramirez gave Porcello a 5-1 lead in the fourth with his two-run shot to right field.

This could serve as a needed confidence boost for Porcello, who had been 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs.

He had command of his pitches early, holding the Angels scoreless until the fourth, when a catching error by Leon at home allowed Albert Pujols to cross the plate.

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

BOSTON —  The Red Sox have become well known for their ceremonies, for their pull-out-all-the-stops approach to pomp. The retirement of David Ortiz’s No. 34 on Friday evening was in one way, then, typical.

A red banner covered up Ortiz’s No. 34 in right field, on the facade of the grandstand, until it was dropped down as Ortiz, his family, Red Sox ownership and others who have been immortalized in Fenway lore looked on. Carl Yazstremski and Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez. 

The half-hour long tribute further guaranteed permanence to a baseball icon whose permanence in the city and the sport was never in doubt. But the moments that made Friday actually feel special, rather than expected, were stripped down and quick. 

Dustin Pedroia’s not one to belabor many points, never been the most effusive guy around. (He’d probably do well on a newspaper deadline.) The second baseman spoke right before Ortiz took to the podium behind the mound.

“We want to thank you for not the clutch hits, the 500 home runs, we want to thank you for how you made us feel and it’s love,” Pedroia said, with No. 34 painted into both on-deck circles and cut into the grass in center field. “And you’re not our teammate, you’re not our friend, you’re our family. … Thank you, we love you.”

Those words were enough for Ortiz to have tears in his eyes.

“Little guy made me cry,” Ortiz said, wiping his hands across his face. “I feel so grateful. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to have the career that I have. But I thank God even more for giving me the family and what I came from, who teach me how to try to do everything the right way. Nothing — not money — nothing is better than socializing with the people that are around you, get familiar with, show them love, every single day. It’s honor to get to see my number …. I remember hitting batting practice on this field, I always was trying to hit those numbers.”

Now that’s a poignant image for a left-handed slugger at Fenway Park.

He did it once, he said — hit the numbers. He wasn’t sure when. Somewhere in 2011-13, he estimated — but he said he hit Bobby Doerr’s No. 1.

“It was a good day to hit during batting practice,” Ortiz remembered afterward in a press conference. “But to be honest with you, I never thought I’d have a chance to hit the ball out there. It’s pretty far. My comment based on those numbers was, like, I started just getting behind the history of this organization. Those guys, those numbers have a lot of good baseball in them. It takes special people to do special things and at the end of the day have their number retired up there, so that happening to me today, it’s a super honor to be up there, hanging with those guys.”

The day was all about his number, ultimately, and his number took inspiration from the late Kirby Puckett. Ortiz’s major league career began with the Twins in 1997. Puckett passed away in 2006, but the Red Sox brought his children to Fenway Park. They did not speak at the podium or throw a ceremonial first pitch, but their presence likely meant more than, say, Jason Varitek’s or Tim Wakefield’s.

“Oh man, that was very emotional,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to lie to you, like, when I saw them coming toward me, I thought about Kirby. A lot. That was my man, you know. It was super nice to see his kids. Because I remember, when they were little guys, little kids. Once I got to join the Minnesota Twins, Kirby was already working in the front office. So they were, they used to come in and out. I used to get to see them. But their dad was a very special person for me and that’s why you saw me carry the No. 34 when I got here. It was very special to get to see them, to get kind of connected with Kirby somehow someway.”

Ortiz’s place in the row of 11 retired numbers comes in between Boggs’ No. 26 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.