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Closing Time: David Ortiz on Target again as Red Sox crush Twins

05.14.14 at 11:17 pm ET
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In an alternate universe, Target Field would have been known as the House that Papi Built. Instead, the home ballpark of David Ortiz‘s former team, the Minnesota Twins, may have to settle for the title of the House that Papi Tried to Destroy.

Ortiz — who never had a multi-homer game in Minnesota as a member of the Twins — delivered his second two-homer game in as many nights and the 43rd of his career (41 of which have come with the Red Sox). The Red Sox designated hitter (now 12 years into his career in Boston after being released by the Twins following the 2002 campaign) went 3-for-4 with a pair of solo homers — the 383rd and 384th of his Red Sox career, pushing him past Hall of Famer Jim Rice for sole possession of third place on the Red Sox‘ all-time home run list — and a double to lead the Red Sox to a 9-4 victory over Minnesota.

Ortiz’s numbers at Target Field border on comical. In 13 career games and 60 plate appearances there, he’s hitting .528 with a .583 OBP and 1.113 slugging mark fueled by nine homers and 13 extra-base hits. For the sake of context, it’s worth noting that Twins star Joe Mauer has 12 career homers at Target in 266 career games.

Ortiz is in a stretch where it looks like he is doing his best to carry his team’s lineup. He’s reached a point of scorching absurdity.
In a nine-game span, he’s hitting .472 with a .537 OBP and 1.056 slugging mark. Tuesday and Wednesday marked just the second time in his career that he’s had two homers in consecutive games, the previous such instance coming on July 4 and 5, 2003, against the Yankees.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

– Left-hander Felix Doubront is offering signs that he’s turned a corner in May. He logged 6 1/3 innings, allowing one run (matching a season-low) on seven hits while walking one (matching another season low), hitting a batter and punching out five (all looking, on a night when he elicited few swings and misses but located well). He threw 71 of 104 pitches (68 percent) for strikes. Since he ended April with a dreadful 2 2/3 inning outing, Doubront has delivered three strong performances in May, throwing 17 2/3 innings with a 2.55 ERA, 13 strikeouts and five walks. With Wednesday’s outing, he snapped a six-game stretch without a win.

Xander Bogaerts had a strong all-around game, going 2-for-4 with a double (his second extra-base hit in as many games) and a walk while also making some sharp defensive plays, most notably when he closed out the bottom of the seventh with a 6-3 double play. The three times reaching base — the first time he accomplished that trick since April 18 — pushed his OBP back to .366.

– Outfielder Grady Sizemore went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk, his third multi-hit game in his last six contests, delivering a pair of run-scoring hits.

Mike Napoli doubled to right-center to extend his career-best streak of consecutive games on base with 33.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

A.J. Pierzynski followed his 0-for-4 performance that included three strikeouts and a double play on Tuesday with another 1-for-5 game on Wednesday that lowered his OBP to .302. Still, he managed to salvage what had been an 0-for-4 night by shooting a two-run double to left in the ninth inning.

Jackie Bradley Jr. was the only member of the Red Sox lineup not to collect a hit, going 0-for-4.

– Brought into the game in mop-up duty in the ninth, Edward Mujica recorded a pair of strikeouts but also allowed a two-run homer, pushing his ERA up to 9.00.

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