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David Ortiz leaves John Farrell speechless with latest big moment in win over Blue Jays 10.01.16 at 12:15 am ET
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David Ortiz hit his 38th homer of the year Friday night against the Blue Jays. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz hit his 38th homer of the year Friday night against the Blue Jays. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

It’s been a grind for 40-year-old David Ortiz.

As his final regular season comes to a close, the designated hitter has been asked to do a lot away from the field starting with all the pregame ceremonies honoring him, which he admitted prior to Friday’s game have taken their toll on him, but time and time he’s produced on the field.

With the game tied at three in the seventh inning against the Blue Jays and going up against left-hander Brett Cecil, Ortiz hit a two-run home run down the right field, which proved to be the game-winner in the Red Sox’ 5-3 win over the Blue Jays.

The Sox entered the seventh inning trailing 3-1 and the win also snapped a three-game losing streak.

Friday marked the first game of a weekend-long celebration of Ortiz at Fenway Park for his career with the Red Sox and the home run couldn’t have come at a better time.

“On a night that begins a weekend celebration, I don’t think you could write a script any better for what David did here tonight offensively,” manager John Farrell said.

“In a 2-1 count against Cecil, who had some decent success against him, turned this place upside down given the time of the game, what was needed,” Farrell added. “Almost a storybook night for David Ortiz.”

The home run was Ortiz’s 38th of the season and his 16th go-ahead homer of the year. It was also his 39th career go-ahead home run in the seventh inning or later.

“Nights like tonight, it almost leaves you speechless,” Farrell said. “Given the career he’s had, the number of home runs hit from the seventh inning on in ballgames in big moments, tonight was right there with them.”

Despite all the great moments Ortiz has provided in his last season, he hasn’t yet had time to marvel at what he’s doing.

“It is what it is,” Ortiz said. “You work extremely hard every day to get better. It’s working out pretty good.”

The designated hitter has 33 go-ahead RBIs this season, which are the most by a Red Sox hitter since he drove in 40 such runs in 2006. His 127 RBIs are also the most by a Red Sox player since that 2006 season.

Ortiz is now just two home runs away from hitting 40 home runs at the age of 40.

“What can I tell you, pretty good season,” Ortiz said. “If it happens, it happens. It’s all gravy.”

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Closing Time: David Ortiz hits 2-run homer in 7th inning to snap tie, give Red Sox win over Blue Jays 09.30.16 at 11:00 pm ET
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David Ortiz's two-run homer in the seventh inning proved to be the game-winner in the Red Sox' win over the Jays (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz’s two-run homer in the seventh inning proved to be the game-winner in the Red Sox’ win over the Jays (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

You couldn’t have scripted it any better.

In the first game of the final series of the regular season dedicated to honoring David Ortiz in his final season, he hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning to snap a 3-3 tie and give the Red Sox a 5-3 win over the Blue Jays snapping a four-game losing streak in the process.

With the win, the Red Sox remain half a game ahead of the Indians for the No. 2 seed in the American League and hold the tiebreaker as well.

For Ortiz, it marked the 39th time he’s hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning or later with 36 of them coming with the Red Sox.

“On a night that begins a weekend celebration, I don’t think you could write a script any better for what David did here tonight offensively,” manager John Farrell said. “A long at-bat in the first inning and takes a pitch on the outside of the plate from [Marco] Estrada for a RBI single. And then in a 2-1 count against Cecil, who had some decent success against him, turned this place upside down given the time of the game, what was needed. Almost a storybook night for David Ortiz.”

Trailing 3-1 in the seventh, the Red Sox scored four times to take the lead. Andrew Benintendi led the inning off with a double and then scored on a Dustin Pedroia tapper in front of the plate as Russell Martin’s throw got past first baseman Justin Smoak and stuck in the tarp.

After a Brock Holt ground out, Mookie Betts tied the game with a RBI single up the middle. The Blue Jays then brought in left-hander Brett Cecil to face Ortiz and he made them pay.

“Focus man,” Ortiz said. “Just want to go out there and do something when I step up to the plate. Be patient and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”

Toronto threatened against Koji Uehara in the eighth with runners on second and third with one out, but he was able to get out of it, retiring Josh Donaldson for the final out of the frame. After his tough outing in New York Wednesday night, it wasn’t the smoothest of ninth innings after walking two, but he got the save.

With his scoreless seventh inning, Brad Ziegler picked up the win.

The Red Sox led 1-0 until the fifth inning and things unraveled a bit for starter Rick Porcello. It started with a Devon Travis double off the Monster then an infield single and a Donaldson sacrifice fly to tie the game at one. Porcello was one out from getting out of the inning, but Jose Bautista crushed a two-run home run over the Monster into a stiff wind and mist.

Porcello wasn’t at his best as he went six innings and allowed three runs on eight hits, while walking two and striking out six. For anyone else this would be considered a decent start, but the right-hander came into the game with a 13-1 record at Fenway Park this year and a 2.88 ERA.

“I thought he’s been throwing the ball as he’s been so many times out for us,” Farrell said.

Ortiz also got the Red Sox on the board with a two-out RBI single to left field in the first inning.

Closing Time note

By going 3-for-5, Pedroia now has 201 hits on the season. It is his second career 200-hit season, the other being his MVP year in 2008.

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

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What is David Ortiz’s favorite Fenway Park at-bat of all-time? at 6:42 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz has had a lot of at-bats at Fenway Park over the years — 3,654 in the regular season going into the weekend to be exact.

Before Friday’s game, Ortiz was asked what his favorite was and it wasn’t even one of the 3,654, as it came in the postseason.

“I have a lot of good at-bats here at Fenway, I’m not going to lie to you,” Ortiz said with a smile. “But I definitely got to go back to 2004, man, those walk-offs. That put us back on track. We used the opportunity to go back to New York and finish them off over there and win that World Series that everybody was expecting for the past 86 years at the time.”

The game-winning home run in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS off Paul Quantrill was brought up and Ortiz said that was one of the ones he will never forget.

“I always look at that at-bat like it was yesterday,” Ortiz said. “When I saw Quantrill coming in, I’m like, he’s coming with a front-door sinker. He threw it to me, and I was ready. Your mindset — when it comes down to his game, you can’t just play this game with an empty mind. I feel, as a player, whatever you do on the field, when you do it not thinking about it, the only advantage we have as a player is those two seconds to think about things before they happen. After that, you’re on your own. If your mind is not in it, whoever is watching from the outside, you can tell. Me, I can tell most of the time when a player wasn’t ready for whatever happened.

“But you also can tell when the players was ready, too. You can’t play the game thinking about something else. You’ve got to be 100 percent in it, otherwise you’re not going to see the results, and I have been able to keep up with it.”

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David Ortiz discusses Hall of Fame chances: ‘I’m super proud of what I have done’ at 6:24 pm ET
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David Ortiz said he hasn't given his Hall of Fame chances much thought. (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz said more Dominican Republic players will get into the Hall of Fame in coming years. (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

Although his career isn’t completely over, it’s getting time to start seriously thinking about David Ortiz’s chances of making the Hall of Fame.

As it stands now, there is one designated hitter — Frank Thomas — and two players from Dominican Republic — Pedro Martinez and Juan Marichal — in Cooperstown, but Ortiz acknowledges that soon will be changing, especially when it comes to Dominican Republic players.

“We’ve got plenty coming. We’ve got plenty,” Ortiz said. “We’ve got Adrian Beltre. I think that guy should be in the Hall of Fame once he’s done with his career. We’ve got Albert Pujols. If he retired tomorrow, he’d be in the Hall of Fame. We’ve got Vladi [Vladimir Guerrero]. He’s going to be in the voting next year, ’17. That guy has Hall of Fame numbers. We’ve got a lot of guys coming. Things are going to change with time. We have been able to progress when it comes down to that, no question about that. The Dominican Republic is developing so many great talents. It has become a masterpiece when it comes down to what we do right here.

“I’m very excited about it. I am one of the guys that, I look up to those guys. We always had conversations. We have a great relationship. I think we are in pretty good shape to have a few more Dominicans at some point, probably 5-10 years from now, 15 years from now, in the Hall of Fame. In my case, I always tell you guys, all I can do is keep on doing what I’m doing on the field right now.

“When it comes down to voting five years from now, I’ll probably start thinking about it a little more, sitting at home, not worrying about all those things I’m thinking about right now. All I want to do is just what I’ve been doing throughout my career, send the right message to everybody and try to do the right thing. It’s going to be up to them.”

Ortiz did admit he’s proud of his career, as he will enter the weekend with a career average of .286 with 540 home runs and 1,765 RBIs over his 20 seasons. He also noted his career story, as he came from seemingly no where.

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David Ortiz admits pregame ceremonies have been distracting, looking forward to postseason at 6:03 pm ET
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David Ortiz has appreciated all the pregame ceremonies this year. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz has appreciated all the pregame ceremonies this year. (Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports)

While all the pregame ceremonies to honor David Ortiz for his final season have been nice tributes, the Red Sox’ designated hitter admitted they have been a bit distracting at times, especially in his first at-bats of games which have come mere minutes after the ceremonies.

“It has, I’m not going to lie to you,” Ortiz said. “The good thing is that we’re already in the playoffs so for the next three days I don’t really have to worry about it. The best thing about it is that once we go into the playoffs there’s not going to be all these distractions. I like to be focused when I play, especially when I play for a reason. We worked extremely hard in the regular season to get to the playoffs and I don’t want to blow that off.

“It’s not easy going through all these things and playing baseball at the same time. It can cause distraction … I am going to try to enjoy these next three days and be ready to play in the playoffs.”

Ortiz said he’s been so busy to even think about this being his last season, but admitted he never expected things to go like they have with seemingly every away team honoring him this year.

“I was telling Junior in Spanish, he asked me how I feel about everything that has been happening. Everything happened so fast, and I’m like in it, so I haven’t really had the time to drop knowledge on things,” he said. “I never expected everything to be this way. We play during the season, we get involved in everything we’ve got to do. I don’t expect anything ever, but everything is so beautiful, what has been going on.”

Added Ortiz: “Looking forward to the regular season being over with. I know we’re going to have three busy days. It is what it is. Just trying to get prepared for the playoffs and be part of what we’re trying to do during the regular season. I really appreciate all those in the organization taking their time to honor me and make me feel good about what my career has been.

“I think it was super nice what the Yankees did last night, very professional. After this weekend, we’re just going to get prepared for the playoffs.”

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Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts batting 6th, David Ortiz 4th in series opener vs. Blue Jays at 3:50 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

With Xander Bogaerts hitting just .235 in September, manager John Farrell has moved him down in the order. Bogaerts is batting sixth in the series opener against the Blue Jays on Friday night.

Third baseman Brock Holt, who has been hitting well of late, will bat second as the Red Sox go up against right-hander Marco Estrada. Also, Mookie Betts and David Ortiz have switched, so Ortiz will bat fourth and Betts third.

Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, who is making his final start of the year before the postseason.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Brock Holt, 3B
Mookie Betts, RF
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Sandy Leon, C
Andrew Benintendi, LF
Rick Porcello, RHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

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Video: David Ortiz goes undercover as Lyft driver 09.28.16 at 12:33 pm ET
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In case you were wondering if anyone in Boston would not recognize David Ortiz, the ride-sharing company Lyft found a few such people. The retiring Red Sox slugger went undercover — actually, he just wore a wig — and drove some people around the city before revealing his true identity.

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Meet David Ortiz’s helping hand at 11:51 am ET
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You probably won't see David Ortiz without his Hamsa necklace. (USA Today Sports)

You probably won’t see David Ortiz without his Hamsa necklace. (USA Today Sports)

He has worn the necklace virtually everywhere. Every game. Every appearance. Every time he walks out his front door.

You know the one, because it can’t be missed. That gold outstretched hand with the eye in the middle flailing around with each swing.

So, what is it? It turns out it’s called “Hamsa.”

“It’s for protection and good luck,” Ortiz said. “It’s for real. And when the eye comes out, it’s protecting me from something.”

Ortiz was turned on to the symbology earlier this year and took it to heart. Not only does he wear the necklace without fail, but since receiving the amulet as a gift, the Red Sox designated hitter has added a bracelet to the mix, along with a tattoo of the symbol on the back of his right hand.

The Middle Eastern tradition represents the hand of God, and even has it’s own prayer: “Let no sadness come to this heart; Let no trouble come to these arms; Let no conflict come to these eyes; Let my soul be filled with the blessing of joy of peace.”

So far, it’s worked for Ortiz.

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David Ortiz on D&H remembers Jose Fernandez: ‘That hit home for me big time’ 09.26.16 at 5:45 pm ET
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Sunday was a tragic day in the world of baseball as Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident early Sunday morning in Miami. Before the Rays-Red Sox game there was a tribute to Fernandez on the video board where Ortiz was seen getting emotional.

On Monday, appearing on Dale & Holley, Ortiz offered how he will remember Fernandez and also explained how difficult Sunday was for him.

“That hit home for me big time,” Ortiz said. “I knew Jose a little bit. Great kid. Unbelievable person. Face of the game, definitely. He had so many years in front of him to do things — special things. Then this tragedy happened. All I could think about yesterday was him and his family. He’s got a baby on the way. His mom, his grandmother. The story behind being from Cuba. Yesterday during the game I couldn’t stop think about that. It’s something that we’re all feeling, especially when a good guy goes down like that. I come back to his family and all his friends around the world, Major League Baseball. I was super sad.

“I started thinking about it and I remember during the All-Star game he came up to me and was like ‘Hey, Papi.’ He was a very happy guy. ‘I’m going to have one jersey at my house and it’s yours. Your my favorite player.’ We started talking: ‘Hey, if I face you in this game, I am going to throw you my best fastball. Let’s see if you can hit it.’ We joked about it and talked about things. Very happy. Very humble kid. Sweet guy. In Miami, I talked to my fiends down there and everyone down in Miami is in absolute shock with his situation. It was hard, man. You know how they had the ceremony for me for the retirement, they asked me and I was like, ‘Man, it’s all about Jose today.’

“… It wasn’t a good day. It wasn’t a good day. By the time we were having the ceremony for Jose and when they were showing the stuff about him on the screen, I couldn’t help it. It was so sad. It was something — man, it hit me.”

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David Ortiz on D&H praises John Farrell, talks potentially winning MVP award in final season at 4:38 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz appeared on the Dale & Holley with Thornton show Monday to talk about a number of things including John Farrell and potentially winning American League MVP in his final season. To hear the interview, go to the D&H audio on demand page.

Throughout the season many have questioned Farrell and his in-game decision making, but Ortiz completely backed his manager, saying he loves the way things are going right now.

“Man, John isn’t wasting time,” Ortiz said. “John, the way he’s managing the bullpen, the way he’s pulling with all of us, it’s perfect. It could get no better. He’s got everything under control really well. We’re so excited. We’re super happy the way he’s doing things right now. He’s not wasting time, any minute. I love the way he’s running this ballclub right now.”

Ortiz is currently tied for second in the American League in batting average, hitting .321, second in RBIs with 124 and leads all of baseball with a slugging percentage of .632. With the numbers he’s putting up, it’s no surprise he’s in the conversation for American League MVP in his final season.

The designated hitter says he doesn’t really care about it, as he’s focused on winning.

“I never really think of it because of all the crap and negativity [it] always brings along with,” Ortiz said. “I have had MVP numbers before and just because I don’t play defense they always down me. They have to always head in a different direction. If it happens, it happens. If it don’t, I’m not really going to go crazy about it. I care about winning and winning another World Series. Those are the things I really care about because personal numbers are always going to be personal numbers.”

Being 40 years old and playing in 145 games, Ortiz admitted he isn’t 100 percent health wise, but is ready for the postseason.

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