Their fly guy
Ortiz's sacrifice in 10th lets Red Sox fashion a win over Mariners and split series
SEATTLE — David Ortiz arrived at Safeco Field on Sunday morning wearing a black porkpie hat, wraparound sunglasses, and a jacket with a colorful pocket square. A Louis Vuitton backpack was slung over his shoulder.
Ortiz was the only Red Sox player selected to the All-Star team and he looked the part.
A few hours later, Ortiz further validated his star status with a sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning that gave the Sox a 2-1 victory against the Seattle Mariners.
“Think we needed that?” said teammate Dustin Pedroia, whose home run in the eighth inning had tied the game. “David was huge.”
Red Sox pitchers allowed five runs over four games and 38 innings in the series. But until the late-game offensive burst, it looked like the Sox would lose three of the games.
Jason Vargas was working on a four-hit shutout when Pedroia homered. The second baseman had been 1 for 15 in the series.
“It felt like there were 50 outfielders and a lot of infielders,” he said.
Pedroia solved that problem by hitting a fastball over the fence in left field for his sixth home run, the first since May 10.
The score was still 1-1 when Ryan Kalish pinch hit with one out in the 10th and doubled off the wall in right-center against Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen.
Kalish likes pinch hitting, believing it fits his aggressive nature at the plate.
He swung at the second pitch he saw and watched Seattle right fielder Ichiro Suzuki, hoping he wouldn’t track it down.
“I know who’s out there,” Kalish said. “I was excited to get it over his head.”
Pedroia was next and he singled sharply to right field. That put Kalish on third with the right batter coming to the plate.
“That was vintage. He took a 96-mile-per-hour fastball and just laced it into right field,” manager Bobby Valentine said. “It’s July 1, folks, look out. New month. His month, I believe.”
Seattle called in lefthander Lucas Luetge to face Ortiz. He got Ortiz to ground to second base on Saturday night. But this time Ortiz took two sliders away then hit another slider plenty deep enough to right field to score Kalish.
“He tried to get me to chase it. That’s what they’ve been doing the whole series,” Ortiz said. “I’m going to be patient in that situation and make sure I don’t screw it up.”
It was the first victory in six extra-inning games this season for the Sox, who start a three-game series at Oakland on Monday night.
The Red Sox bullpen went 5⅔scoreless innings, giving up one hit, in relief of Felix Doubront.
Matt Albers ended a Mariners rally in the fifth inning by getting Jesus Montero to ground into a double play. He then worked the sixth inning before Scott Atchison pitched two perfect innings.
Vicente Padilla (2-0) pitched the ninth and has now gone 10⅓ innings without allowing a run. Alfredo Aceves had a five-pitch 10th inning for his 19th save.
Doubront allowed one run in his 4⅓ innings but walked five, hit another, and threw 103 pitches.
He has put 30 runners on base in his last 16⅓ innings and appears in need of a rest. Doubront has thrown 89⅔ innings, two more than he threw all of last season in the majors and minors.
Valentine’s theory is that Doubront is throwing too many different pitches.
“He was wound up a little tight today,” said Valentine, who didn’t know why that was. “Glad we got a win in the start that he made.”
Said Doubront: “I don’t know what happened. The good thing is my arm and my body feel good.”
Rookie Will Middlebrooks did not come out to play third base in the bottom of the ninth inning, the result of a stolen base in the top of the inning that caused some discomfort in his left hamstring.
Middlebrooks has had occasional issues with that hamstring before but said it “felt different” this time. He is questionable for Monday’s game.
The injury forced the Red Sox into some shuffling. Mike Aviles, who was scratched from the lineup because of illness, came in to play shortstop and Nick Punto moved to third.
Thanks to Aviles coming in, Valentine had enough left on the bench to use Kalish to hit for Brent Lillibridge.
“I was glad we were able to score two runs and get out of here with a split,” Valentine said.
As he dressed afterward, Ortiz marveled at the happiness one fly ball could create.
“It was enough,” he said.