President Barack Obama should mispronounce Mike Napoli’s name more often.
Just one day after the commander in chief butchered Napoli’s last name, the Red Sox slugger took it upon himself to make a name for himself with his monstrous day at the plate against the Baltimore Orioles, propelling Boston to its first win of the season Wednesday night.
Napoli’s big bat first struck in the fifth inning when he broke the 2-2 tie with a crushing two-run home run that he ripped over the center field wall. The blast came on an 0-2 pitch from Orioles starter Ubaldo Jiminez – a count Napoli only hit eight home runs on during the entire 2013 season. The first baseman only continued to make life miserable for the O’s in the seventh inning, too.
Following an intentional walk to David Ortiz to load the bases, Napoli made Baltimore pay for the free pass, belting a line drive into center field that scored both Daniel Nava and Dustin Pedroia. Napoli and Ortiz had both already gone deep in the game, as Big Papi launched a two-run homer in the third inning, but the Orioles opted to take their chances on Napoli.
“They’re gonna make me beat them,” Napoli told reporters after the game. “They aren’t going to give into him (Ortiz), so it’s nice to come through.”
Napoli finished 2-for-5 with four RBI to give John Lackey the run support that Jon Lester lacked in his Opening Day start Monday. Lackey posted six strong innings for the Sox, holding the O’s to just two runs on three hits while striking out six.
“It’s nice,” Napoli said when asked how it feels to get the first way out of the way.”Lack pitched well, kept a good tempo and he kept our defense in the game. I’m glad we could get some runs for him.”
Napoli, who is now 3-for-7 on the season with three hits, four RBI and just one strikeout, is no stranger to coming out of the gates hot. Last season, he compiled 27 RBIs in the month of April to go along with 14 extra-base hits.
If Napoli’s torrid pace keeps up, Obama will have no choice but to learn how to correctly say his name.