One man cannot win a baseball game on his own. Or at least we've yet to find the pitcher who can score more runs than he can allow without any defense behind him. But David Ortiz came about as close as a designated hitter can Saturday night, driving in six runs to save the Red Sox from a poor start from Rubby De La Rosa and give them a 10-7 win over Houston.
Before Ortiz had his first shot at Houston starter Brad Peacock, De La Rosa had given notice that his services would be needed at the plate. Two runs came across in the top of the first on a pair of walks and singles, leaving the Red Sox in an early hole. It would just get deeper in the second, as De La Rosa allowed another single and pair of walks, leading to a sacrifice fly from Chris Carter to make it 3-0.
To say this was Rubby at his level worst would be unfair. It wasn't that he was wild, more that he couldn't make the out pitch or get the call he needed at the right time. The Astros picked on a fair bit of what could be considered "paint," and while he didn't exactly pour on the all-important sliders, he did make those he threw work for him fairly well--an important takeaway in the midst of what might be called a disaster game.
Still, the runs certainly did flow. The Astros tacked on two more in the third as Gregorio Petit doubled home Jon Singleton and Marwin Gonzalez, and Chris Carter capped off the pain for De La Rosa with a solo shot in the fourth.
All told, Rubby was on the line for six runs in four innings of work, but the Red Sox were still hanging tough. Daniel Nava had put Boston on the board in the bottom of the second, extending his short hot streak by doubling home Mike Napoli. Then, in the third, David Ortiz made his presence known for the first time. With Dustin Pedroia already on base, David Ortiz punished Brad Peacock for hanging a changeup (if slightly outside), making his 400th home run in a Red Sox uniform a towering shot to dead center field. That left Rubby De La Rosa on the hook for just a three-run deficit--large, but not insurmountable.
That last bit would be proven just a couple innings later, and once again David Ortiz was at the heart of things. Locked in a lengthy battle with the designated hitter, Brad Peacock finally went to his slider looking for an out pitch. Instead, he got another hanging off-speed offering, the sort which a hitter like Ortiz is not going to miss very often. While it was more of a slap shot than the bomb he produced in the third, Ortiz' second homer of the night found the stands all the say, slicing its way into the right field box seats and bringing the Red Sox within a run.
Still, Peacock might have been able to leave the game with a lead had an error from Jon Singleton not allowed Yoenis Cespedes to reach base behind Ortiz. But with the second out still eluding him, Peacock fell apart, allowing a walk to Mike Napoli, and then a game-tying single into left on a hanging breaking ball to Daniel Nava. Still not done, the Red Sox saw Xander Bogaerts draw another walk to move Mike Napoli to third, and Jackie Bradley Jr. produce a very loud sacrifice fly that put the Sox ahead 7-6.
Houston's bullpen would finally re-exert some control over the game, but Alex Wilson had kept the Astros under wraps for two innings in relief of De La Rosa. Tommy Layne would get in trouble in the seventh, but Burke Badenhop was capable of hetting the last two outs of the inning, and then working a 1-2-3 eighth to get the Red Sox within three outs of a victory.
Rather than head straight to the ninth, however, the Red Sox decided to make Kojie Uehara's job easier. Singles from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Dustin Pedroia along with a walk from Brock Holt loaded the bases for who else but David Ortiz. And while Papi was not up for a third homer--this time of the grand slam variety--he was still capable of driving a double to the opposite field, bringing in his fifth and sixth runs on the night. Yoenis Cespedes even got in on the action behind him, getting his customary hit of the game to score Dustin Pedroia and make it 10-6.
Those insurance runs would actually prove important, too, so long as you believe Koji pitches the same in save and non-save situations. A rare junker from Uehara to Jason Castro wound up deposited in the bullpen for a solo shot, but there were already two outs in the inning, and while Uehara took a while to get that last out, letting the tying run come to the plate, he finally got the ground ball he needed from Marwin Gonzalez to end the game.