It was an injury of the cruelest kind.
David Ortiz hurt his right ankle rounding second base in the eighth inning Monday night. On Adrian Gonzalez’s game-winning homer.
Gonzalez deposited a 3-run shot atop the Monster to put Boston ahead for good, but Ortiz, who had walked, was running hard on the pitch. He limped into home, and took a slow walk back to the dugout.
“It was sore right away, but I didn’t hear any pop,” Ortiz said. “I think I’ll be all right.”
He told reporters after the Sox’s 5-1 win that he will have an MRI Tuesday. Manager Bobby Valentine expects the team’s top hitter to miss a couple games.
“We’re not going to lose him for long, it doesn’t look like,” Valentine said. “We’ve been playing short all year, no need to start anything new now. We’re prepared for it. We’re battle-ready.”
The injury marred an otherwise solid win for the Sox. Aaron Cook got a no-decision despite allowing 1 run (0 earned), scattering five hits, and not recording a single walk or strikeout over 7.0 innings. Per the postgame notes, Cook is the first Sox pitcher to pitch 5-plus innings with no walks or strikeouts twice in the same season since Bob Stanley in 1979.
Working his sinker low in the zone, Cook induced 12 groundouts, but left after the seventh with what Valentine called some cramping.
“That’s what he does,” Valentine said. “When you have that sinker, you pitch to contact. He’s not going to walk anyone. Very few guys are going to get on with a free pass. He’s going to pound that zone with the pitch that moves down to try to get them to hit the top of the ball.”
With White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod equally as effective, tying his career-high with eight strikeouts over 6.2 innings, Boston struck once he left the game. Leyson Septimo walked Carl Crawford and Ortiz in the eighth, and Gonzalez hit his seventh homer of the season into the Monster seats.
“Well, it was big,” Valentine said. “It really inspired us to victory, that’s for sure. We were dull there for a while, he got the first RBI in the first inning. Really weren’t doing anything, he showed a lot of patience and delivered.”
Vicente Padilla pitched a perfect eighth, striking out Kevin Youkilis swinging on a 96 mile-per-hour fastball to end the inning. Youkilis was 3 for 3 up until that point in his return to Fenway since being traded to Chicago, and he received a 45-second standing ovation before his first at bat, when he eventually singled and came around to score on a throwing error by Gonzalez.
Alfredo Aceves faced the minimum in the ninth, getting Alex Rios to ground into a game-ending double play.
“We get to the eighth inning and Vicente has just been phenomenal,” Valentine said. “To get that part of the lineup without anyone getting on base was big in this game, get us right back in the game in the dugout. He’s done that consistently all year.
“Alfredo loves to pitch, seems like the more he pitches the better he pitches. Has been a great person at the end of the game for us.”
Other postgame items of note:
- In his first Sox game this season, Crawford was 1 for 3 with a first-inning single and two runs scored. “It definitely helps,” Crawford said of his hit. “It helps you relax a little bit more and not worry about it so much. Then it kind of reminds you that you can still do it. That was good to get that knock out of the way … I’ve never started a season off with a base hit. It did a lot for me.” He also worked an eighth-inning walk on five pitches and eventually scored the game-winning run.
- Gonzalez on his first-inning error, in which Youkilis bolted for third with the shift on against Dunn, and Gonzalez air-mailed the throw over Will Middlebrooks’ head: “If I was a better quarterback, we wouldn’t have given up a run. I was thinking back shoulder, Will was thinking over the top.”
- In each of his past 10 games, Ortiz has at least 1 hit and 1 walk, the longest streak in Sox history. The previous record was set in 1950 by Ted Williams.
- Pedro Ciriaco went 3 for 4 and is batting .542 in six games since July 7. In four of his seven games this season, he has at least three hits.
- Boston snapped a seven-game losing streak at Fenway to the White Sox, a streak that dated back to Aug. 26, 2009.
- Since the trade, Youkilis is hitting .323 with 4 doubles and 15 RBIs.
- The announced paid attendance was 38,334, the highest at Fenway this season