David Ortiz’s two-run homerun lifts Sox to 5-3 victory in the day half of twin bill


David Ortiz’s two-run homerun lifts Sox to 5-3 victory in the day half of twin bill

(May 17, 2008) – Back in their comfort zone of Friendly Fenway and playing in front of the home crowd, the Red Sox ended their four game losing streak with a 5-3 win against the third place Milwaukee Brewers in the first game of the day-night doubleheader. It was the first time Milwaukee returned to Fenway Park since joining the Senior Circuit after the 1997 season.

The Sox got on the board first when David Ortiz walked with two outs against Jeff Suppan to extend the inning for Manny Ramirez. Two homeruns shy of the magical 500th career homerun, Ramirez is almost certain to achieve the feat at home after failing to hit the heralded achievement on the past 10-game road trip. But after his Oscar winning performance of acting as if a Suppan fastball hit him on the hand instead of the bat knob, the Sox had runners on first and second with Kevin Youkilis at the dish.

Youkilis singled to right field moving up Ortiz and Ramirez a base hit. Suppan was wild early on in the game. After hitting Ramirez with a fastball, he walked in the first Sox run of the game on a five pitch walk to J.D. Drew. Drew was credited with his 18th run batted in of the season when Ortiz crossed plate.

They would add to their 1-0 led the next inning when Julio Lugo lined a base hit up the middle behind Suppan with one out. He move up to second another base hit to left by the center fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury, who was only in the starting line up because Coco Crisp was still feeling side effects of the migraines that forced him from the game on Wednesday. After Dustin Pedroia failed to drive in the runners, but no need Ortiz broke the game open with a three-run homerun over the Green Monster.

Ortiz’s eighth homerun of the season and RBIS 30,31 and 32 barely made its way over the left field wall. In any other ballpark it would be just your average fly ball to the left fielder but not in Fenway. It is one of the advantages to playing 81 home games a year at baseball’s oldest ballpark but with advantages it also has disadvantages and throughout Red Sox history fans have seen both.

Milwaukee was not able to piece anything together against Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka until the top of the seventh inning. The Brewers were able to get the lead off hitter on base in four of the six innings Matsuzaka was on the mound but ended up stranding the runners on base. In the seventh, Matsuzaka easily got third baseman Bill Hall and catcher Jason Kendall to fly out to center and right, respectively but allowed second baseman Rickie Weeks to reach on Youkilis’s throwing error. Youkilis’s first error of the 2008 season prolonged the inning for center fielder Mike Cameron. Cameron cut the Sox lead in half with two run bomb over the Monster. Both runs unearned due to Youkilis’s very, very bad throw to first. He is no longer a third baseman and needs to stick with first to hide his weak arm. In 6.2 innings of work, Matsuzaka allowed just two runs – although neither run earned – on seven hits while walking two and striking out seven.

After giving up a base hit to last year’s Rookie of the Year Ryan Braun, Terry Francona had seen enough and opted to pull Matsuzaka in favor of the left handed Javier Lopez to face Prince Fielder. But Lopez was not all too effective and walked Prince Fielder on five pitches before being relieved by Manny Delcarmen. Delcarmen came on to get right fielder Corey Hart to ground into a fielder’s choice to end Milwaukee’s seventh inning threat.

After relieving Lopez, who faced just one batter, Delcarmen stayed on to pitch the eighth and allowed no runs on one hit before turning the game over to closer Jonathan Papelbon. But the ninth inning for Papelbon would not be without drama. Braun took a Papelbon fastball offering and launched it over the Monster to cut the Sox lead to two runs but the Sox closer was able to get Fielder to pop to shortstop to get the final out of the game and his 12th save on the season.

The Sox return to action tonight in the night cap of the double header and will send Tim Wakefield to the hill to oppose Brewers righty Dave Bush who is 1-4 on the season with a 6.06 ERA.

WIN: Daisuke Matsuzaka (7-0)

LOSS: Jeff Suppan (2-3)

SAVE: Jonathan Papelbon (12)


Game Notes:

Last time these teams met: June 6-8, 2003 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Sox won the series 2-1, sandwiching a June 7 loss with two wins.

Red Sox-Brewers history:

When the Milwaukee Brewers were part of the American League, the Red Sox and Brewers played 394 games with Boston winning 211 of them. Since moving over to the National League after Major League Baseball expanded following the 1997 season, Boston and Milwaukee have faced each other just once – in 2003. But let’s reminisce back to the day when these two teams one another between 10 and 18 times a year. In 197 games played at Fenway between these two teams, the Sox came out on the winning end of 113 of them.

Red Sox Notes:

Mike Lowell is getting the late afternoon game off with three games being played in 36 hours.

Coco Crisp is not in the afternoon starting line up after he had to be taken out of the game in Baltimore with headaches and nausea in the sixth inning. He told Terry Francona that he will be able to pinch-run, pinch-hit or enter the game as a defensive replacement late in the game.

Hideki Okajima has a minor wrist injury and is day-to-day. The team will continue to monitor the injury but does not foresee the left-handed reliever to spend any time on the disabled list.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. David Ortiz, BOSTON --- 2-2; HR, 2 BB, 3 RBIs,2 Runs-Scored
  1. Daisuke Matsuzaka, BOSTON --- 6.2IP, 7H, 2R, 0ER, 2BB, 7K
  1. Prince Fielder, MILWAUKEE --- 2-3; 2 DB, BB

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