Rick Porcello had a solid outing, the Red Sox scored ten runs, and--oh yeah--David Ortiz made history Saturday night in a win over the Rays.
While it was homer number 500 we were all waiting for, it was Ortiz' 499th that put the Red Sox ahead early in this one. A three-run shot off Matt Moore in the first would be just the beginning of one very rough outing for Matt Moore of the 8.42 ERA. While Moore bounced back with a two-strikeout second that ended when Rusney Castillo was caught trying to take second base, Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia went back-to-back to start the third to make it five runs for Boston, and both contributed again when Pedroia knocked in Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. with a double to left in the fourth, giving the Red Sox their sixth and seventh runs of the night.
In days gone by, even that might not be enough for Rick Porcello, particularly with the specter of the bullpen looming in the later innings. But ever since his return from the disabled list, Porcello has proven capable of keeping runs off the board, and today was no different. Despite allowing a leadoff baserunner in both the first and second innings, Porcello had managed to keep the Rays from crossing the plate to that point, leaving the Red Sox lead at a commanding 7-0. He would run into his biggest trouble yet in the fourth, allowing a one-out double to Evan Longoria and walking Logan Forsythe, but Mookie Betts grabbed a decent effort from James Loney in center to end the inning.
That brings us to the first at bat against the fifth: David Ortiz vs...well, still Matt Moore. The Rays lefty attempted to put David Ortiz away on a front-door curveball, and Ortiz cleared it out. Number 500 was in the books. Ortiz would later single in the seventh, allowing Torey Lovullo to pull him for a pinch-runner and give Ortiz a chance to receive an ovation from the sizable Red Sox contingent in Tropicana Field.
But there was still half a game of baseball to be played, and for Porcello, the last bit wasn't quite as good as the first. A hanging changeup--a real problem pitch for Porcello this season--to John Jaso in the bottom of the fifth was completely demolished for a two-run homer, and a two-out double in the seventh gave the Rays a third run, turning what might have been a great outing from Porcello into simply a good one. A good one featuring the same long ball red flag as his last two. The results for Porcello are certainly more encouraging these days than they once were, but there might still be work to be done even after 29 innings of seven-run baseball.
Still, even with those three runs and the Red Sox bullpen involved, the game proved well out of reach for the Rays. Travis Shaw made it five Red Sox homers on the night in the seventh, and Heath Hembree allowed the only other run to Tampa Bay on a solo shot from Richie Shaffer.
All of it, though, is mostly window dressing on a night that will be remembered for one thing years from now: David Ortiz making his mark on history and joining the exclusive 500 home run club. May there be many more before he's done.