David Ortiz is reportedly displeased that the Red Sox have not discussed a contract extension for him. He has said he wants a multi-year deal, and as each week passes, he continues to justify that request.
Last night, with the game tied at 6-6 in the top of the ninth in Minnesota, Ortiz lined an RBI single off Joe Nathan. Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with an RBI double on a broken bat looper to left field giving the Red Sox an 8-6 lead.
Jonathan Papelbon retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth, including two strikeouts, to earn his 25th save.
With the victory, Boston improved to 71-43 and increased its American League East lead over the Yankees to 1.5 games. The Yankees were off on Monday and open a three-game series against the Angels at Yankee Stadium tonight.
Tim Wakefield was in position to secure his 200th career win after allowing five runs (three earned) and eight hits over seven innings. However, the usually reliable Alfredo Aceves surrendered a game-tying run on jason Kubel’s two-out base hit in the eighth.
Aceves, who usually earns the wins he gets, did not deserve this one, but he improved to 8-1 nonetheless.
It appeared that Wakefield would not get out of the first few innings after serving up three runs and four hits in the second inning. He was victimized by shoddy defense.
Michael Cuddyer led of the frame with a deep fly ball to left field that Carl Crawford dropped. Cuddyer was given a double by the generous hometown official scorer. Kubel followed with a single, but Josh reddick fired a no-bounce strike to Saltalamacchia in time to get Cuddyer, but Saltalamacchia dropped the ball.
With two outs and a runner at third – and the light-hitting Matt Tolbert at the plate – Saltalamacchia was charged with a passed ball that allowed Jim Thome to score and give the Twins a 3-1 advantage.
Minnesota jumped ahead 5-1 after a solo shot by Kubel in teh fourth and an RBI double from Joe Mauer in the fifth.
The Red Sox finally roughed up right-hander Scott baker in the sixth when Crawford tripled and scored on Adrian Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly, and then Ortiz and Saltalamacchia launched back-to-back with solo home runs to tie the score at 5-5.
Ortiz was in the middle of another rally in the eighth when he opened the inning with a double off Glen Perkins. Ortiz advanced to third on Saltalmacchia’s fundamentally sound ground out to Cuddyer at first base. Mike Aviles followed with a grounder to Tolbert at shortstop, who threw home in an attempt to nab Ortiz.
The throw had Ortiz beat in plenty of time, but the ball glanced off Mauer’s glove and the Red Sox grabbed a 6-5 advantage.
That set the stage of Aceves to preserve Wakefield’s win, but the reliever allowed a doble to Trevor Plouffe and later in the frame gave up the RBI single to Kubel.
Though Wakefield had a shaky second inning, he was not helped by his defense and pitched well over the course of his seven innings.
As for Ortiz, he had four hits, three Rbi and three runs. Ortiz is batting .295 with 22 home runs and 74 RBI on the season.
He is justifying a two-year offer for a total of $20 million to $25 million with perhaps a team option for a third year.