Swihart Bradley Betts

Game 44 Recap: Red Sox 5, Indians 2

The team that employs David Ortiz finished a three-game set against Cleveland on Sunday at Fenway Park and won, in large part, because they are the team that employs David Ortiz. Papi went 4-4 with a walk, finishing one base short of the cycle when his 8th-inning triple bid jumped the fence in just-right-of-center, leaving him with merely a single, two ground-rule doubles and a home run in what was likely the most productive day of his most productive season of all time. It was dope.

Top Play (WPA): The first ground rule double came in the second, when Ortiz took Danny Salazar to the right-center field gap, scoring Mookie Betts from second base and moving Xander Bogaerts to third. A foot shorter or longer both runners score, so after his fifth inning shot to right field, the 514th home run of his career, he’s merely two RBI behind league-leader Robinson Cano (Ortiz has 37, Cano 39).

Bottom Play (WPA): Rick Porcello got the first two outs in the second inning before he got into his biggest trouble. After he loaded the bases on a double, HBP and walk, Jason Kipnis dumped a single over the right side of the infield, tying the game at two. Porcello was so close to getting out of it unscathed, though: On the pitch before, Kipnis had chopped one so close to the line that Hanley Ramirez engaged first base umpire James Hoye in a what appeared to be a protracted, good natured Socratic dialogue over what is and isn’t fair, man. Unfortunately, Ramirez lost the debate and the foul call stood.

Key Moment: The day David Ortiz was born. It was November 18, 1975, and there was a lunar eclipse that wasn’t visible from North America, which begs the question: If a heavenly body is waning and we can’t see it, is it waning at all? To wit, everything Ortiz did yesterday was sublime, up to and including his fever-dream ground rule double in the eighth that everyone wanted to go for a triple, to the point of Dave O’Brien and Jerry Remy calling for him to hit it to the 420 gap before he did just that. Ortiz has never hit for the cycle, and when he pulled up to second after the ball bounced into the stands, he pantomimed running to third — he knew what was at stake, and how close he had come. You can’t win them all, I guess. But Ortiz is making me believe otherwise.

Trend to watch: The hitting streaks continue, and the batting averages continue to climb. Jackie Bradley Jr. knocked a sharp single to right in the fifth off Salazar to run his streak to a league-leading 27 games. His 1-3 day left his batting average at .342, good for second in the AL. Bogaerts had three more hits on the day, running his second-place hitting streak to 16 games and his batting average to .346, tops in the league.

Up next: The Red Sox got an honest-to-goodness off day, which means your Monday just got a lot less interesting. On Tuesday they host the Colorado Rockies at Fenway Park in a repeat of the 2007 World Series. Jorge de la Rosa will go for the Rox, while the Sox will counter with folk hero Steven Wright.

Photo by Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports Images


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