In the series opener, won 6-5 in 11 innings by the Red Sox on May 6, Mauer and Anthony Swarzak tried to get Ortiz out in the eighth inning. They got ahead 0-2 in the count, but Mauer noticed Ortiz took strike two on the inside corner as if he expected it. Mauer worried about coming inside with another pitch, but that’s Swarzak’s strength, and the righthander was all for it.
“I knew I had him if I make my pitch,” Swarzak said.
Swarzak tried to come inside with that 0-2 pitch, but missed over the plate. Ortiz pounded the mistake for a double.
“He’s been like that for years,” Swarzak said, “and you have to be real careful going inside on him, especially down and in because he can lift that ball.”
Ortiz has hit 348 of his 406 career home runs in a Boston uniform. He also continues to be one of the faces of a Red Sox organization that won the World Series in 2004 and ’07. And he’s a reason why they have been one of the surprise teams in the league so far this season, following Boston’s miserable 69-93 season last year.
When his hot shot landed in Morneau’s glove, Ortiz saw his 25-game hitting streak end, a streak that dated to last season. He didn’t sound too pleased about it.
“Baseball gods take cover,” he said after the game. ‘You know what I’m saying? Nothing much you can do. I can tell you one thing, that ball found Morneau. He was right there.”
That’s Big Papi style.