BOSTON (CBS) – As a 17-year veteran, David Ortiz has been playing baseball for a long time, so it should come as no surprise that he is climbing his way up the record books.
On Tuesday night, Ortiz went 4-for-5 in Boston’s 11-8 win over the Seattle Mariners, tying Harold Baines for the most hits all-time by a designated hitter.
But following the victory, Ortiz downplayed the milestone.
“That means I’m getting old, man. You have to play for a while to put numbers together,” Ortiz said after the win. “I don’t really think about it right now. I’m just trying to go through the motions and trying to continue to produce for this ballclub so we win games.”
“It’s a good accomplishment but I’m not really thinking about it,” he said.
Ortiz played a major role in Boston’s win Tuesday night, which snapped a three-game losing streak. The Sox DH began his evening with a solo homer in the second, Ortiz’s team-leading 18th blast of the season, followed with doubles in both the third and sixth innings, and capped his evening off with a single in the eighth — his 1,688th hit as a DH, tying Baines.
“It’s just an outstanding career. He just continues to get better with age,” manager John Farrell said of his DH after the game.
Ortiz remembers watching Baines play, as well as DH-great Edgar Martinez. Baines was eligable for the Hall of Fame in 2007, but received just 4.8-percent of the votes in 2011 and was taken off the ballot.
Ortiz doesn’t think a player should be left out by the Hall voters just because they were a DH.
“They did what people asked for — put up good numbers. They did it, so why not?” he said.
Lost with Ortiz’s record-tying hit was what happened after. With Boston holding on to a 9-7 lead, M’s reliever Justin Smoak was paying little attention to Ortiz at first. Seeing an opportunity to get into scoring position, Ortiz swiped his third base of the season. Seattle then walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Jose Iglesias followed that with an RBI single, driving in Ortiz. It was one of three runs the DH scored on the night, and Boston would tack on an addition run that inning for a little more insurance en route to the win.
“You play to win,” Ortiz said of the steal. “Any chances you have, you have to take advantage of it.”
“The crowd is laughing about it because you’re typically not going to see it, but it really set things up,” Farrell said. “It might go under the radar, but that stolen base was key in that inning.”
The record for most hits by a DH is in Ortiz’s sights, and will likely be his within the next couple of days. As for the stolen base, it was the 14th of his career, and he was jokingly asked if he had his sights set on Rickey Henderson’s record 1,406 swipes.
“I don’t think I can play another 20 years,” Ortiz said with a chuckle.