BOSTON — The Red Sox delivered their most explosive offensive performance of the season Monday night. Unsurprisingly, David Ortiz played a starring role.
The designated hitter doubled twice as part of a six-run fourth inning and added a bizarre run-scoring popup in the seventh, as Boston breezed to a 14-7 win over the Oakland A’s at Fenway Park.
Ortiz intends to retire at the end of this season, but he certainly does not look like a player whom the game has passed by. The 40-year-old slugger leads all Red Sox hitters in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, doubles, walks, home runs, RBIs and wins above replacement this season, and ranks among the top three in Major League Baseball in five of those categories (slugging, OPS, doubles, homers and RBIs).
He has tallied multiple hits in exactly half of the games he has started this season (14 of 28), and the Red Sox are 11-3 in those contests. In games in which Ortiz either fails to hit safely more than once or doesn’t play, the Sox are 8-10.
“No slowing down,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Monday’s game. “He’s in a great place, taking a lot of good swings, and I’d hate to see where our offense would be without him in the middle of it.”
Some additional notes from Monday’s action:
— Boston’s big offensive night bailed out starting pitcher Clay Buchholz, who surrendered four runs over the first three innings and was pulled from the game after five. That was enough to earn the win, however, as the Sox led 9-4 when the right-hander exited.
“They pressed him in those first three innings,” Farrell said. “He likely could have gone deeper, but we felt like with the number of pitches thrown, where we were in the lineup, coming to the fourth time through the order, we wanted to make a move. We were well-rested with the bullpen to set up for these next two days and we felt like we had some guys that could use some work.”
Buchholz did settle down a bit after his rough start — he held the A’s scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings — and said he did not agree with Farrell’s decision to give him an early hook.
“Not really,” he said. “I didn’t really know what was going on. I thought I got traded or something. I’d have liked to go back out for the sixth, but I’m not the manager.”
The Red Sox lost Buchholz’s first five starts to begin the season but have won each of his last two.
— Journeyman right-hander Sean O’Sullivan is scheduled to make his first start in a Red Sox uniform Tuesday night after appearing in relief in Saturday’s loss to the New York Yankees.
O’Sullivan, a non-roster invitee to Red Sox spring training this season, has seen action with the Los Angeles Angels, Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies since breaking into the majors in 2009. He was with the Phillies last season, posting a lackluster 6.08 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 12 big league starts.
— Eduardo Rodriguez is not quite ready to rejoin the Red Sox. The young left-hander, who has yet to appear in a major league game since suffering a knee injury in spring training, will make at least one more rehab start at Triple-A Pawtucket, per Farrell.
— Outfielder and leadoff man Mookie Betts has yet to miss a game this season. That likely will change this week, as Farrell said he’d like to give Betts a night off in the near future.
The manager named shortstop Xander Bogaerts as a candidate to move up into the leadoff spot when Betts does get a breather.
— Monday was “Star Wars Night” as Fenway, giving us pregame scenes like these:
Thumbnail photo via Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports Images
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