David Ortiz's two doubles and two RBIs lead to a Tampa Bay blood-bath 12-4


David Ortiz's two doubles and two RBIs lead to a Tampa Bay blood-bath 12-4

(May 3, 2008) – Last week James Shields threw a complete game shut out against Josh Beckett and the Red Sox. But there were no “rays” of sunshine tonight for the Tampa Bay starter. Shields did not make it past the fourth inning, allowing seven runs on 10 hits. On the other side of the field, the first four innings did not fair much better for Beckett.

After mowing down the first five batters of the game, Beckett allowed the first Tampa Bay hit to Rays catcher Dioner Navarro. A batter later, Beckett gave up a two-run homerun to right fielder Gabe Gross to make it a one run ball game. But that was a close as Tampa Bay would get all game because the Red Sox offense was smokin’ hot.

The power surge from Friday night continued into the first inning against the Rays on Saturday under the Fenway Park lights. Rookie Jacoby Ellsbury started the night off with a base hit up the middle that fell just short of Rays center fielder Nathan Haynes. Second year second base man Dustin Pedroia followed Ellsbury’s base hit with a single of his own into left, moving his cohort up a station to second.

The month of April had not been too kind to David Ortiz, going 19-for-103 with five homeruns and 21 RBIs, but has come around as of late. Let it be noted in the past five games Ortiz appears to being breaking out of his funk that plagued him in the first month of season. In his last ten games, the Sox designated hitter has hit at a .300 clip (12-for-40) and drove in Ellsbury and Pedroia for the first two runs of the game with a double to left. His buddy, left fielder Manny Ramirez would drive him in for the third and final run of the inning with a base hit of his own into center.

Like the flu epidemic that ran rampant through the Sox clubhouse two weeks ago, hitting is contagious. Until the bottom of the eighth inning every member of the Sox starting line up had a base hit with the exception of catcher Jason Varitek. Up till the eighth, Varitek’s only contribution – offensively – was getting hit on the kneecap, with the bases loaded, by J.P Howell to force home Ortiz with the seventh run of the game. Varitek’s first and only hit of the game was two-run single to right driving in Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis. The Red Sox catcher got greedy and tried to turn a single into a double and was thrown out by right fielder Gabe Gross.

After a tempestuous first four innings, Beckett settled down in the fifth and retired eight consecutive Rays batters before giving up a solo homerun to second baseman Akinori Iwamura in the top of the eighth. The homerun was Iwamura’s second homerun and eighth RBI of the season. In total the Sox ace completed eight innings allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out just five Tampa Bay hitters.

Tampa Bay ace Scott Edward Kazmir returns to the mound tomorrow to make his first start of the season and he faces fellow Southpaw Jon Lester. It always seems as if Kazmir and Lester always get matched up together. The last time these two lefties met was Tuesday August 14 of last year, Lester nearly matched Kazmir’s six innings of four hit ball while striking out eight Sox batters. In that game the Rays lead the game in the bottom of the ninth inning with one-out and Lowell at the plate and with one sweet swing by the Sox third baseman an unsuspecting fan on Lansdowne Street wound up with a souvenir. Center fielder Coco Crisp would drive in Varitek, who doubled following a strike out by Kevin Youkilis, with the game winning run to give the Red Sox the 2-1 victory and Eric Gagne his first win in a Sox uniform.

Lester is coming his fourth straight no decision where he pitched eight innings of one-hit ball before turning it over to closer Jonathan Papelbon who received his first victory of the season in the 1-0 Red Sox victory. The Sox left handed starter is currently 1-2 on the season with a 4.31 ERA with 22 strike outs.

In 2007, Kazmir was 13-9 with a 3.48 ERA, 239 strike outs and 1.38 WHIP. Although his career record against the Red Sox is 6-5, Kazmir has the Sox’s number. In 101.1 innings, the Rays lefty holds Sox hitters to a .218 average and has a 2.66 ERA against the occupants of Fenway Park. Against the Sox, Kazmir has struck out 118 Sox batters in his career against Boston. For the Rays, Kazmir is their only hope to salvage a game in the series and avoid a sweep in revenge of last week.

WIN: Josh Beckett (3-2)

LOSS: James Shields (3-2)


Game Notes:

J.D. Drew returns to the line up after missing three games with a sore left quad.

Lost in the shuffle of all the hits and runs, Dustin Pedroia, at second was 3-for-5.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. David Ortiz, BOSTON 3-5 2 Doubles, 2 RBIs, 2 Runs scored
  1. Jason Varitek, BOSTON 1-4 Single, 3 RBIs, 2 Runs scored
  1. J.D. Drew, BOSTON 2-4 Double, 2 RBIs, Run scored

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