MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — David Ortiz insists he isn’t trying to do anything special to show the Minnesota Twins they made a big mistake by letting him go in 2002.
It just looks that way every time he crushes another ball into the Target Field seats.
Ortiz homered twice and drove in six runs to torment his former team once again, leading the Boston Red Sox to a 12-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night.
“It used to be,” Ortiz said when asked if there was extra motivation when he played the Twins. “Not anymore. I just go about my business. I try to hit the moon every time I go to hit anywhere. It’s not new.”
Dustin Pedroia had two hits, two walks and an RBI, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. Daniel Nava also went deep for the Red Sox, who have won four straight following a slide in which they had lost 10 of 14.
Scott Diamond (3-4) gave up six runs on eight hits and walked three in 4 1-3 innings for the Twins, who have lost four in a row to fall into last place in the AL Central. Pedro Florimon had two hits and two RBIs and Joe Mauer extended his hitting streak to 15 games with two hits.
Craig Breslow (1-0) pitched 1 2-3 innings of scoreless relief for the win. Ortiz also had a single and a walk, raising his batting average to .362 in a game that lasted 3 hours, 53 minutes.
“His performance is as good as you’re going to find in the league right now,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Twins general manager Terry Ryan has long been one of the most respected executives in the game. But one of his biggest mistakes came in 2002 when he released Ortiz, who had just appeared to start putting things together in his sixth big league season. The move is still haunting Ryan and the Twins 11 years later.
Ortiz signed with the Red Sox, and promptly blossomed into one of the most feared hitters in the American League, a central figure in Boston’s two World Series championships and the kind of slugger the Twins have been searching for ever since. He wears No. 34 in honor of the late Kirby Puckett and seems to take particular delight in hammering his former team.
Ortiz is 19 for 37 with five homers and 16 RBIs at Target Field.
“The one guy we say don’t let beat us is David Ortiz,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “They’ve got a lot of really good hitters over there, but we told them to stay away from this guy, don’t give in to him. And he keeps sending souvenirs.”
Diamond labored from the start, falling behind 3-0 after 19 pitches. Ortiz jumped on a flat slider and drove it into the seats in right-center field for his sixth homer of the season.
Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster wasn’t much better. He walked four hitters in the second and third innings to load the bases in both frames, but the right-hander got Mauer to chase a breaking ball down and away to escape in the second and then got Aaron Hicks to fly out to deep right field to end the third.
Dempster needed a staggering 127 pitches to get through just 4 2-3 innings. He gave up five runs on eight hits and walked six.
“I just couldn’t get consistency with any of my pitches,” Dempster said. “I kept missing away with it. I really didn’t have any of my pitches tonight.”
Down 7-5 in the sixth, the Twins loaded the bases again. But Pedroia made a nifty over-the-shoulder catch in shallow right field, then whirled and easily threw out Ryan Doumit at home on a major base-running blunder.
Ortiz and Nava busted the game open with two-run homers in the seventh, giving Ortiz his 40th career multi-homer game.
“He’s swinging the bat great right now,” Pedroia said. “Everything he hits is hard. He looks great up there.”
NOTES: The Red Sox played without OFs Shane Victorino and Stephen Drew because of back injuries. Farrell said both were hopeful of playing on Sunday. … Mauer returned to the lineup after missing Friday night with a stiff back. … Diamond and Dempster were facing each other for the second time this season, becoming the first pair of Canadian starters to meet more than once in a season since at least 1920, according to the Red Sox. … The Twins will send LHP Pedro Hernandez (2-0, 5.79) to the mound on Sunday for the finale against Boston RHP John Lackey (1-4, 4.05). Lackey is looking to bounce back from a poor start against Tampa Bay, when he gave up five runs in 4 1-3 innings.
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