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For Ortiz, a milestone at the expense of a rookie

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  September 28, 2013 01:20 AM

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BALTIMORE — David Ortiz had a special moment during Friday night's 12-3 victory against the Orioles. At the same time, he spoiled a special moment for Orioles rookie Mike Belfiore.

Ortiz came to the plate in the eighth inning with two runners on. The Orioles called in Belfiore, a 24-year-old lefthander who attended Boston College. It was his major league debut.

Belfiore fell behind 2-and-1 before throwing a fastball that Ortiz took the other way and lined over the wall in left field.

Ortiz has 30 home runs and 103 RBIs. He joined Ted Williams as the only Red Sox players with seven seasons with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs.

"It's a huge honor for myself to be mentioned with one of the greatest that ever played the game in this organization," Ortiz said.

The home run also was the 431st for Ortiz, tying him with Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. for 45th place all-time.

“The Iron Man, that’s something special,” Ortiz said. “You keep on mentioning names and nothing but greater comes out. Mad respect.”

Ortiz was then told that his home run came off a player making his debut.

“Welcome to the big leagues,” he said with a chuckle. “I heard he’s from Boston. Damn. My boy, he already knows.”

Also:

• The Sox clinched home field for the first round of the playoffs. Game 1 of the Division Series will be next Friday at Fenway Park. The magic number to clinch the best record in the American League and home field advantage throughout the postseason is 1.

At 97-63, the Red Sox have their most wins since the 2004 team won 98 games.

• Clay Buchholz allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out four without a walk. He threw 113 pitches, his most in a start since late May.

“I thought Clay went out and pitched with a comfortable effort level,” manager John Farrell said. “It wasn’t his most overpowering, but he had to pitch. … It was more of the progression for him.”

Buchholz topped out at 92 miler-per-hour and sat at 89-90 over the course of his outing. He relied heavily on off-speed and breaking pitches. In his previous start, Buchholz was comfortably at 93-94.

Buchholz pinned the difference on a change in his routine. He usually plays catch and throws a dozen pitches off the mound the day before a start. But the Red Sox did not arrive at their hotel in Baltimore until close 6 a.m. on Thursday morning and the Orioles had a game that night at Camden Yards.

Baltimore offered the use of its bullpen in the morning. Buchholz elected to sleep in instead and was still tired a day later.

“My body felt a little lethargic. Felt it when I woke up that it might be a grinding outing for me,” Buchholz said.

That Buchholz was able to complete seven innings outweighed any concern about his velocity.

“He didn’t try to overthrow because he felt fatigued,” Farrell said. “I think it’s a sign of maturity more than anything and not anything physically restricting him. He’s answered the physical question for sure.”

• Stephen Drew had his eighth triple, tied the third-most in the AL. Only Brett Gardner (10) and Mike Trout (nine) have more.

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