Red Sox regain punch
Ortiz, Martinez knock out Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. — David Ortiz belted 32 home runs to win the Home Run Derby at Angel Stadium July 12. He returned to the scene of his triumph last night and hit two more.
Only this time they counted.
With his team desperate for a victory, Ortiz delivered two rockets to right field that helped give the Red Sox a 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels before a crowd of 40,364.
Victor Martinez added an RBI single in his long-anticipated return to the lineup as the Sox improved to 4-4 on their 10-game trip. Clay Buchholz (11-5) went seven strong innings for the victory.
With the Rays getting a no-hitter from Matt Garza in their victory against the Tigers, the Sox remained five games out in the wild-card race.
Buchholz was at the All-Star Game as well, but only as a uniformed spectator. A strained left hamstring put him on the disabled list and left him unable to pitch.
Now healthy, Buchholz showed why he was an All-Star. He allowed one run on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. He left after throwing 114 pitches.
“I thought he did a real good job,’’ said manager Terry Francona. “The first couple of innings he threw a lot of pitches, then he settled down.’’
With Daniel Bard unavailable after pitching in three of the previous four games, Scott Atchison started the eighth inning and allowed a two-run home run by Hideki Matsui, his fourth in six games. The umpires reviewed the shot and confirmed their initial call.
Jonathan Papelbon got the final four outs for his 23d save.
Boston relievers have allowed eight runs in the eighth inning of the last three games, further evidence of the team’s need for bullpen help as Saturday’s nonwaiver trade deadline approaches.
The Sox made Papelbon’s job easier in the top of the ninth by scoring two runs. Michael Kohn made his big-league debut to start the inning and walked Mike Cameron before Marco Scutaro singled and J.D. Drew followed with a two-run double.
There was welcome news before the game as the Sox activated Martinez off the disabled list. The All-Star catcher had been out since breaking a bone in his left thumb on June 27.
In his absence, Red Sox catchers had hit .162 with two RBIs. Martinez hit sixth in a batting order that now looks significantly deeper.
With the Red Sox trailing, 1-0, after the first inning, Martinez made an immediate impact.
Adrian Beltre led off the inning with a triple, his drive to deep center ticking off the glove of a leaping Torii Hunter. Martinez then lined the first pitch he saw into right field for an RBI single. It was the first RBI for a Boston catcher since June 29.
The single came off Los Angeles starter Dan Haren, who was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday for lefthander Joe Saunders and three minor leaguers. The timing of the trade worked well for Martinez, as the base hit made him 9 for 17 against Haren in his career.
The Sox had hit Haren hard June 17 at Fenway Park, driving the righthander out of the game in the sixth after collecting seven hits and three walks. Ortiz homered to center in that game.
Last night he hit his first in the third for a 2-1 lead and added another in the eighth for a 4-1 advantage.
“I’ve been trying to produce but the pitching has been real good lately,’’ said Ortiz. “Tonight was a big one for us.’’
Added Francona, “[Papi’s] a big bat for us. We need him.’’
Haren had to leave the game in the fifth when he was struck on the right forearm by a line drive off the bat of Kevin Youkilis. The crowd grew quiet and manager Mike Scioscia rushed out of the dugout to attend to his new ace and then helped escort him off the field.
The initial report was Haren suffered a bruise, but he will be examined again today.
With Youkilis on first, reliever Francisco Rodriguez warmed up on the mound then got Ortiz to fly to deep left field. Rodriguez retired all four batters he faced.
Kevin Jepsen started the seventh and retired the Sox in order.
As effective as the Los Angeles pitchers were, Buchholz was even better.
He put six runners on base in the first three innings but gave up only one run. That came in the first when Bobby Abreu drove a 1-1 changeup deep into the stands in right field.
The Angels loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning as Matsui drew a walk, Alberto Callaspo singled to left, and Mike Napoli was hit by a pitch.
But Buchholz got Juan Rivera and Jeff Mathis on weak pop-ups to Youkilis at first base. Erick Aybar then left the bases loaded with a fly ball to left field.
“I thought it was going to be a real long night for the bullpen,’’ said Buchholz. “Getting out of something like that doesn’t happen all the time.’’
The Angels had two more hits in the third but could not score as Callaspo grounded to first to end the inning.
The out was the first of 11 straight recorded by Buchholz with six coming by strikeout. The string was broken when Rivera singled with one out in the seventh.