|Ortiz's late homer saves Red Sox again with weekend series against Yankees looming|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 12 September 2007 23:33|
The two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth Wednesday night barely cleared the low wall in right field but it gave the Red Sox a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and set off a big on-field celebration.
``He's the greatest, man. He's the best,'' said Julio Lugo, who walked to lead off the Boston ninth. ``That's why they call him Big Papi because he can carry the team.''
Ortiz drove in all of the runs for the Red Sox - he hit a three-run homer in the third to cut Tampa Bay's lead to 4-3 - who remained five games in front of New York in the AL East with a three-game series with the Yankees starting Friday night at Fenway Park.
``That's the biggest thing, keeping the five-game lead and going into the series with the momentum,'' said reliever Jonathan Papelbon (1-2), who worked the ninth and got the win. ``It shows that we have the makeup that teams have to go 27 outs.''
In other AL games on Wednesday, it was: New York 4, Toronto 1; Los Angeles 18, Baltimore 6; Detroit 5, Texas 1; Chicago 7, Cleveland 4; Seattle 6, Oakland 5; and Kansas City 6, Minnesota 3.
Lugo drew a leadoff walk from Al Reyes (2-3) in the ninth and one out later, Ortiz hit his first game-winning homer of the season, one that barely fell into the stands.
``It was too high,'' Ortiz said. ``That was a good pitch by him.''
Delmon Young appeared to have a chance to catch it, but he ran too far toward the Pesky Pole. Reversing direction, Young twisted his body and arrived too late.
``I think he went to the line maybe too hard,'' Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. ``That ball was really high and it just floated back toward the middle of the field. I think that if he had been able to get to the right spot he probably would have been able to catch it.''
Boston manager Terry Francona said he couldn't see the ball from the dugout.
``I was too busy blowing on it,'' he said. ``I thought maybe it hit the wall.''
The Devil Rays wasted leads of 4-0 and 8-1 in losing 16-10 on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, B.J. Upton's 24th homer, a two-run shot, helped them to a 4-0 lead in the first.
Ortiz's homer in the third was his 30th and gave him 102 RBIs. He has reached 30 homers and at least 100 RBIs in all five of his seasons with Boston.
Ortiz, battling knee and shoulder problems, has 12 homers and 33 RBIs in his last 27 games, and has raised his batting average from .311 to .321 during that stretch.
``It's that time of year,'' Francona said.
Yankees 4, Blue Jays 1
Mike Mussina pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning in his return to the rotation and visiting New York won its seventh straight game to keep its four-game lead over Detroit in the AL wild-card race.
Mussina (9-10), dropped from the Yankees rotation late last month after allowing 19 earned runs over 9 2-3 innings in three straight losses, allowed five singles in 5 2-3 innings.
Mariano Rivera got four outs for his 26th save in 29 opportunities.
Dustin McGowan (10-9) allowed four runs and three hits in five innings for the Blue Jays, who lost their fifth straight.
Angels 18, Orioles 6
Garret Anderson homered and had five RBIs and Vladimir Guerrero drove in four runs for visiting Los Angeles, which reduced its magic number for clinching the AL West to nine.
Kelvim Escobar (17-7), who had a 5-0 lead before taking the mound, allowed six runs in 5 1-3 innings.
Baltimore starter Daniel Cabrera (9-16) gave up a career-high 10 runs, eight earned, in 4 1-3 innings. The Orioles, who issued 13 walks and committed three errors, have lost 18 of 21.
Tigers 5, Rangers 1
Magglio Ordonez hit a three-run home run and Gary Sheffield added a two-run shot for host Detroit, which has won seven of nine.
Justin Verlander (17-5) became the first Tigers pitcher to win at least 17 games in consecutive seasons since Jack Morris in 1986-87. He gave up one run and seven hits in seven innings.
Edinson Volquez (2-1) gave up five runs, seven hits and four walks while striking out a career-high six in seven innings for Texas, which has dropped two straight after winning 13 of 15.
White Sox 7, Indians 4
Jim Thome hit his 499th homer and drove in three runs for host Chicago, which ended a three-game skid and snapped AL Central-leading Cleveland's four-game winning streak.
Javier Vazquez (12-8) won for the first time in four starts, striking out nine and giving up two runs, one earned, and six hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Jake Westbrook (5-9) gave up five runs, four earned, and seven hits in six innings, and Grady Sizemore and Victor Martinez had RBI singles for Cleveland.
Mariners 6, Athletics 5
Pinch-hitter Adam Jones tied the game with a solo homer in the eighth and Yuniesky Betancourt had an RBI single in the ninth to give host Seattle its third win in its last 18 games.
Jose Guillen singled off Andrew Brown (2-2) and went to second on a groundout. After an intentional walk, Betancourt lined a single into center. Closer J.J. Putz (3-1) got the win, pitching a perfect ninth.
Mike Piazza gave Oakland a 5-4 lead with a pinch-hit, two-run single in the seventh.
Royals 6, Twins 3
At Kansas City, Gil Meche (8-12) allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings to earn his first win since July 20. David DeJesus and Mark Teahen homered for the Royals, who snapped a seven-game losing streak.
Twins starter Carlos Silva (11-14) lasted just two innings before departing with a pulled right groin. He allowed three runs and five hits in his shortest outing of the season.