KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National League had a five-run lead in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night before David Ortiz got to swing a bat. But the designated hitter of the Red Sox never stopped smiling.
Ortiz got up twice and had a single in a game the National League won, 8-0.
“It’s great. It’s a blessing to be part of the All-Star Game,” Ortiz said “You have the fans voting and having you coming over, I think it’s great. It’s something that never gets old. I always look forward to it.”
The game was over quickly as the NL scored five runs in the first inning off Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who admitted he was trying to entertain the crowd by throwing the ball as hard as he could.
Those fastballs were turned around quickly or missed. Melky Cabrera singled with one out before Ryan Braun doubled to right field. Cabrera scored.
With two outs, Verlander walked Carlos Beltran and Buster Posey. Pablo Sandoval, who many felt should not have been elected the starter at third base ahead of David Wright, lined a curveball down the line in right field to score three runs.
“I had fun but that’s not the way I want to pitch,” Verlander said. “You’re trying to put on a good show for the fans. That’s not the way I would normally pitch. Or at least I hope not.”
Ortiz, watching from the dugout, was surprised.
“We want to try and win the game but they’re trying to win the game, too,” he said. “They came out hot swinging the bats against one of the best pitchers in the game and try to bounce back and score some runs. But they come out hot.”
Ortiz got up in the second inning and saw two pitches from Giants righthander Matt Cain, the National League starter. He swung at the second one, a fastball, and hit a fly ball that landed in the glove of Braun a few feet from the foul pole in left field.
Ortiz came up again in the fifth against Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, a tough lefty. He worked the count to 2-and-2 before lining a single to left field.
Just like he has been doing in the season, Ortiz was patient and went the other way against the lefty.
“I faced him a couple of times. Good stuff,” Ortiz said of Kershaw. “I guess I got away with something today.”
Ortiz advanced to second on a single and third on a ground out before the inning ended. Along the way, Ortiz chatted with the National League infielders. He and Wright shared a few laughs.
It was the eighth All-Star Game for Ortiz. He is 5 of 14 (.357).
“It was good, like always,” he said.
Ortiz intended to make just one plate appearance and clear out of the way for Kansas City designated hitter Billy Butler, the lone representative of the Royals.
But American League manager Ron Washington, perhaps hoping he could gain home field advantage in the World Series for his Texas Rangers, hold Ortiz he would get up twice.
“Some things happen and Washington wanted me to get another at-bat,” Ortiz said. “Actually he wanted me to get three at-bats. But I was like, ‘No, let me get two and let me have [Butler] come in and perform for his hometown.’ [Washington] had a plan for everybody before the game and we respect that.”
Ortiz will now get a few days off before the Red Sox open up against Tampa Bay on Friday. He is looking forward to trying to get the 43-43 Red Sox going in the right direction.
“We have some guys coming back from the DL and hopefully they come back and help us. We need the help,” he said.