MINNEAPOLIS — David Ortiz was informed this evening that the Red Sox have the best road record in the majors at 35-21, that despite losing their first seven games away from Fenway Park.
“Is that right?” he said. “We’re the Sox. Not Apple Sox. We ain’t no Barbeque Sox. We’re the Red Sox.”
Your guess is as good as mine as to what that means. But given the events tonight, maybe it made sense.
The Sox beat the Twins 4-3 in a game that featured 14 walks. The winning run came when Ortiz, the master of disaster, hit a slider about 40 feet up the first base line with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning.
Minnesota pitcher Phil Dumatrait tried to pick the ball with his bare hand and instead pitched forward like he was jumping into a pool. Dustin Pedroia scored from third and that was all the Red Sox needed.
“We knew that squeeze would work at some point,” manager Terry Francona said. “Take it when you can get ‘em.”
There wasn’t much to take from this game otherwise. Erik Bedard had a 37-pitch inning as Tim McClelland called it tight. Bedard walked four and allowed two runs but regained his touch for the final four innings he pitched and left with a 3-2 lead.
“The pitches could have went both ways. Just lack of control in the first,” Bedard said. “I tried to battle and tried to limit the damage. … It could have been real worse. Tried to get a little satisfaction of it. You have to bear down in those situations. If you let it get out of hand the score could have been 6-0.”
It speaks to how much respect McClelland has in the game that Francona, Bedard and catcher Jason Varitek uttered not a peep of protest about the strike zone.
“Timmy’s a good umpire,” Francona said.
“One of my all-time favorites,” Varitek added.
Matt Albers (who has struggled of late) gave up the tying run. But Franklin Morales, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon locked down the win once Ortiz gave the Sox the lead.
Papelbon, pitching for the third night in a row, retired the side in order on seven pitches for his 26th save in 27 chances. He has thrown 11 consecutive scoreless innings, giving up two hits without a walk and striking out 12.
You won’t see Papelbon tomorrow. That will give him two days of rest going into Seattle.
It was the 32nd time the Red Sox have come from behind to win. It also was the 10th time since July 1 they have come back from a deficit of two or more runs to win.
The Sox now lead the division by 2.5 games as the Yankees dropped their third straight.
Hey, forget it, they’re rolling.