Closing Time: David Ortiz wraps up trip to Jamaica by propelling Red Sox to win over Rays

July 27, 2014 - 1:04 pm
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- As the rest of his teammates prepared for a road trip to Toronto and Tampa Bay, David Ortiz said that he was getting ready to visit Jamaica. Evidently, he got there. A lot went wrong for the Red Sox during their 2-5 road trip that essentially snuffed out any sense by the Red Sox front office that a standings surge was possible this year. But Ortiz offered a singular highlight on the trip with an epic display of power. On Sunday, Ortiz punctuated his showcase by launching a three-run homer that represented the entirety of his team's offensive output in a 3-2 win over the Rays. In the seven-game trip, Ortiz went 8-for-28 with five homers and two doubles (with a likelihood that one of the doubles should have been ruled a homer rather than a ground-rule double on fan interference), good for a .286/.310/.893 line. He now has 25 homers on the year, the 10th time in his 12 seasons with the Red Sox that he's reached that market. At a time when the Sox are trying to evaluate what they have for 2015, Ortiz -- even at 38 -- continues to represent a known quantity in the middle of the order, a player around whom the team can envision building a deeper, better lineup for next year. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX -- Allen Webster successfully employed a bend-don't-break strategy to earn his second big league win in eight starts. The 24-year-old struggled to throw strikes, unleashing more balls (44) than strikes (42), yet he still showed the ability to miss the barrel of his opponents' bats. He allowed just three hits (two singles and a double) while striking out four. Though errant fastball command led him to walk five, Webster's standout changeup got Rays hitters chasing pitches for either swings and misses or weak contact, allowing the right-hander to limit the damage to two runs in his outing. -- Dustin Pedroia finished a difficult road trip on a positive note, going 2-for-3 with a walk and a steal. He went 6-for-15 in the final four games of the trip, while the steal was just Pedroia's third of the year, and his first since May 2. -- Christian Vazquez continued to look comfortable at this level, going 1-for-4 and highlighting his rocket arm in gunning down Ben Zobrist on a stolen base attempt. The Rays did later execute a double steal attempt, but Webster hadn't given Vazquez a chance on the lead runner and the Sox middle infielders left second base uncovered. Vazquez also made an excellent play to throw out Brandon Guyer on a good bunt down the first base line. -- The Red Sox bullpen delivered a string of impressive performances to forge a combined 11 outs. Edward Mujica (two outs), Andrew Miller (one inning, one walk, one strikeout) and Junichi Tazawa (scoreless eighth, two strikeouts) handled the relay in front of Koji Uehara, who recorded his 21st save with a scoreless ninth. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX -- Brock Holt went 0-for-5, wrapping up a 1-for-13 series against the Rays and a 3-for-26 road trip.

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