The weather might be cooling down in Boston, but Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz could be heating up.
Ortiz sparked Boston’s rally against Baltimore on Saturday night with a sixth-inning double to deep right off Orioles pitcher David Hernandez. From there, Red Sox hitters followed with a Mike Lowell RBI and eight Boston runs. Ortiz chipped in again with a sacrifice fly in the seventh, scoring Dustin Pedroia.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona continued his trend of giving Ortiz frequent off days, and Ortiz sat out Sunday's series finale against Baltimore.
The return of left fielder Jason Bay (who sat out Saturday's game with a bug he'd apparently picked up from his daughter) affords Francona some lineup flexibility. Bay's first-inning, three-run home run put the Red Sox out to an early lead and took some of the pressure off Francona's somewhat makeshift lineup which saw Mike Lowell DH-ing and Victor Martinez at first base. Ortiz's absence had no ill effects on the game's outcome as the Sox rolled to a sweep of the Orioles with a 9-3 win in the series finale.
Ortiz's up-and-down season has given Red Sox fans cause for concern, but over the past two weeks, the slugger is batting .387 with an OPS of 1.197. That puts him in good stead for the impending playoffs.