Ortiz was 'good to go' with pinch-hit home run

Ortiz was 'good to go' with pinch-hit home run
July 6, 2013, 11:30 am
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- In the late innings of their 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Red Sox got two homers -- one from a guy who seemingly can hit them at will (even off the bench) and one from a guy who recently appeared to have lost his ability to hit them at all.

In the eighth inning, with the Red Sox leading 3-2, manager John Farrell called on David Ortiz to pinch-hit for third baseman Brandon Snyder.

Daniel Nava had doubled to lead off the inning against reliever Dane de la Rosa. Farrell opted for Ortiz, who had been given the night off from the starting lineup.

Ortiz drove the second pitch he saw -- a changeup over the heart of the plate -- deep to right for a pinch-hit homer, the fifth of Ortiz's career and first since May 29, 2011.

"A pitch over the plate -- swing and hit it,'' said Ortiz with a shrug.

Ortiz said on nights in which he's not in the lineup, he goes to the indoor cage between innings to stay loose and keep his swing sharp.

When he was called upon in the eighth, he was ready.

"I was good to go,'' said Ortiz. "But I don't like pinch-hitting. I don't think I'm that good at it. But it was just a pitch over the plate and I put a good swing on it and it went out.''

"It's a luxury to have that guy available to you,'' said Farrell, ''to come off the bench and do what he does. He told me, 'I'll be available if you need me,' and that was the spot. We'd be crazy not to use David given his production and capability.''

In the ninth, meanwhile, Mike Napoli crushed a pitch to dead center for his first homer since June 1, ending a drought of 86 at-bats without a long ball.

It was only one swing, but perhaps it might cue a turnaround for Napoli.

"It's something I can build off of,'' said Napoli. "I'm just going at-bat to at-bat, trying to grind out at-bats and feel good in the box and have my timing good and seeing the ball. I'm just trying to be on time (with his swing) -- with my foot down and my hands are in a certain position where I can fire and not be rushed.''

Napoli knew it had been a while -- more than five weeks -- since he last a hit ball out and didn't try to run from it.

"It's what happened,'' he said. "I haven't hit a homer for more than a month now. It's not like I'm going up there and say, 'I need to hit a home run.' I'm just trying to hit something hard somewhere. I can't go up there trying to hit them because everything gets out of whack.''

It was the 13th homer for Napoli against the Angels, his former team.