David Ortiz has committed himself to avoiding another April swoon. And while he still has over a month until the season starts, if today was any indication, he's got a decent shot.
Ortiz launched his first home run of spring--a three-run shot--in the third inning of today's game against the Twins, helping to pull the Sox out of an early hole en route to a 7-6 win over their Mayor's Cup competition.
That early deficit was provided courtesy of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield, who allowed four runs in the first four innings. Still, it's hard to really fault either pitcher too much. Matsuzaka was really just hurt by one bad pitch, allowing a homer to Jason Kubel, while Wakefield was the victim of some shoddy defense from shortstop Brent Dlugach.
If there was one pitcher who was truly disappointing, it was Daniel Bard, really. The flamethrowing youngster allowed hard contact to multiple batters and gave up a walk, providing the Twins two more runs in the fifth inning.
That was all that the Twins would score, though, and it wouldn't be enough. After David Ortiz' homer, it was mostly the backups that did the work. Sparked by a one-out single from J.D. Drew in the sixth, the Sox strung together some hits, capping the rally with a two-run single from Drew Sutton.
One inning later, it was Ryan Kalish providing the one-out single, and Josh Reddick quickly taking a 7-6 lead by launching a Jim Hoey offering over the wall in left field. Still, with two men in scoring position in the ninth, it took a leaping grab on a line drive by Jose Iglesias to save the Red Sox from a blown save courtesy of Matt Albers.
- David Ortiz: Not only did Ortiz hit his first homer today, but he picked up a line drive single to right as well. Add that to the drive that fell just short yesterday, and Papi seems to be seeing the ball very well to start spring.
- Jason Varitek: The Captain also went 2-2 at the plate.
- Josh Reddick: We already know he can hit homers, but that doesn't mean it's not great to see a game-winner.
- Andrew Miller: Miller is off to a strong start in his Red Sox career, striking out the first two batters he faced.
- Daniel Bard: It's hard to sugar coat two runs and four baserunners in an inning. Bard just didn't have his usual stuff today, which shouldn't be too surprising given the date.
- Brent Dlugach: He had a big double during the rally, but his two errors can't have left a favorable impression with Terry Francona.
- Carl Crawford: An 0-3 performance in his Red Sox debut isn't going to make anyone rethink the signing. But that doesn't change the fact that he had the worst results of any batter.
- The Presentation: From ringing guys up on 2-1 counts and walking them on 2-2, it's clearly spring training for the umpires and scoreboard operators of the world, too. It didn't help that the Twins' radio broadcasters were disinterested and often waited until the play was over to actually relay the events.