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Closing Time: David Ortiz powers Red Sox to rout of Twins

05.18.13 at 11:04 pm ET
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MINNEAPOLIS — David Ortiz is at it again.

The Red Sox designated hitter almost single-handedly carried his team to an 12-5 win over the Twins Saturday night at Target Field, with Ortiz claiming the 40th multi-home run game of his career via a pair of blasts. It marked the fourth time in Ortiz’ career he has claimed six RBIs, having last accomplished the feat Aug. 12, 2008.

It was the fourth straight win for the Red Sox.

In the 21 games he has notched at least one hit (out of 24), Ortiz is hitting .420, and is 9-for-19 on the current road trip. At Target Field, the DH is hitting .500 (19-for-38) with five home runs.

“It used to be, but not any more,” said Ortiz when asked if the success meant anything more that it was against his old team. “I just go about my business. You guys see me try to hit the moon every time I go to hit everywhere. It’€™s not new.”

Also helping the Sox’ offensive onslaught was Daniel Nava, whose seventh-inning, two-run helped cap a game-changing four-run frame for the Sox. The outfielder joined Will Middlebrooks, Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz as members of the Red Sox claim multi-hit games.

The were moments of discomfort for the Red Sox, especially in the fifth inning when Ryan Dempster couldn’t manage to get the final out of the frame before being removed for Clayton Mortensen. Red Sox manager John Farrell left the starter in for 127 pitches (the second-most he had thrown since 2001), having had to watch the Twins bring the potential go-ahead run to the plate.

“Might have been our best offensive night of the year,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “We worked deep counts, we drove the baseball, a big night by David again, Daniel Nava continues to drive the ball with some authority but we had good at-bats up and down the lineup all night tonight and as it turns out, we needed every run. The middle innings kind of got a little dicey for us, tried to get Ryan through that fifth inning with every available pitch but we had gotten to the point where I had to make a move there.”

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ 26th win of the season:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Ortiz got the Red Sox on the board right away in the first inning, launching a three-run homer well up into the right field seats with one out. It was Ortiz’€™ fourth home run at Target Field in 41 plate appearances. The blast scored Jacoby Ellsbury (single) and Pedroia (walk).

Ortiz accounted for the Sox’€™ second run, as well, ripping a single into right field to score Jonny Gome in the third. Gomes had drawn a one-out walk, which was followed by Pedroia’€™s infield single. The hit allowed for a 4-1 Red Sox lead.

With runners on second and third with one out in the second, Aaron Hicks hit a slow ground ball just inside the bag at third base. Middlebrooks managed to back-hand the ball and fire home to catcher Ryan Lavarnway. The Red Sox proceeded to execute a nifty 5-2-6-1 putout after a brief rundown, keeping runners at first and second.

Pedroia extended the Red Sox’€™ lead to three runs with an RBI double in the fifth, scoring Gomes. The second baseman is now 7-for13 with runners in scoring position and nobody out this season. He also is hitting .410 over the last 10 games with five doubles, five RBI and 11 runs scored.

The Red Sox extended their lead to 7-2 in the fifth thanks to Nava’€™s sacrifice fly and a run-scoring single out of Lavanrway. For Nava, it was his 12th RBI in 17 plate appearances when facing a righty with a man on third.

With the bases loaded, one out and the Red Sox leading by two in the sixth, Aaron Hicks lofted a shallow fly ball into right field. Pedroia not only went back to make a basket catch, but whirled around and fired a strike to Lavarnway in time to get Ryan Doumit trying to tag up. (Lavarnway absorbed a fairly sizable collision in completing the double play.)

“That’s the first time I’ve completed a backwards somersault in a long time,” Lavarnway said. “So I’m pretty happy with it.” Regarding the collision, the catcher added, “You know what I think he might have go the worst out of it. I think my face mask might have hit him in the face. I’m not a small person, so…”

Napoli, who had drawn just 11 walks this season, claimed three free passes for the first time as a Red Sox. It was a feat he managed four times in 2012 on the way to earning 56 walks for the season.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Immediately after seemingly getting out of a jam in the second inning with the 5-2-6-1 double play, Pedro Florimon came right back and singled in the hosts first run. Florimon now has hits in four of the five games he has seen Boston pitching this season. Minnesota did strand a pair in the inning when Dempster fanned Joe Mauer.

The Twins cut the Red Sox’€™ lead to 4-2 in the fourth when Justin Morneau singled in Mauer. Dempster was able to get out of the inning without any further damage, but had already thrown 97 pitches through four.

The fifth was a disaster for Dempster and the Sox, with the righty quickly running out of gas even before Jamey Carroll sent the pitcher to the showers with five-pitch at-bat, culminating in an RBI single. The good news for Dempster and the Red Sox is the last time he threw as many as 127 pitches (in 2011) he came back with two strong outings (4 runs, 13 innings). The pitch total was the most by a starter who didn’t make it through five innings since Carlos Zambrano (2004).

“Throwing strikes. That was a big problem,” Dempster said. “I just didn’€™t have any command tonight. That sucks. But at the end of the day, we won the game and that’€™s really all that matters. You can take positives. I fought out of some bases-loaded jams early in the game that kept the game close. Just didn’€™t hang in there to get the win, but we won the game.”

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