The Boston Red Sox pulled their game with the Texas Rangers on Thursday night to a 3-3 tie as Mike Napoli improbably beat out a throw to first to keep from grounding into a double play. As far as ways to score in the MLB go, that’s probably the most rinky-dink way to go about it. How Boston won the game, though, was far different from how they tied it.
Jonny Gomes led off the bottom of the ninth with a double, immediately putting the winning run in scoring position. Then, in a questionable decision by Rangers manager Ron Washington, Texas intentionally walked Dustin Pedroia to pitch to David Ortiz — the same David Ortiz that is a legend in New England for his late game heroics. Big Papi wasted no time making the Rangers regret that decision as he hit the first pitch of the at-bat over the fence in right-center, giving the Red Sox a 6-3 victory.
Ortiz’s walk-off home run was his 10th as a member of the Red Sox and his 16th walk-off hit as a Red Sox. It had been a while since he had done so, though, as it was his first walk-off homer since Aug. 26 of 2009. However, it didn’t surprise any Red Sox fans, especially with the season that Ortiz is having so far this year.
Ortiz missed the first part of the season as he was recovering from injuries. But since he came back, he’s looked like the superstar of old. In 42 games, Ortiz is hitting .325 with a 1.023 OPS and has 11 home runs, 42 RBIS, 12 doubles and, of course, the highly unlikely triple that he notched on Wednesday night. He’s been one of the most consistent parts of the Red Sox offense, which is somewhat surprising considering Ortiz is now 37 years old.
The productive version of Ortiz that the Red Sox have enjoyed through the first third of this season has been a big part of their success. He’s getting on base and putting himself in scoring position and is driving in runs. There’s no telling whether or not he will be able to keep it up for the rest of the season, but one thing is abundantly clear: it is not smart at all to pitch to Big Papi when the game is on the line.