BOSTON (CBS) – The Red Sox bats were alive on Wednesday night, clubbing eight home runs against the Detroit Tigers, but the spotlight belonged to DH David Ortiz.
Entering the night just two hits shy of career hit #2,000, Ortiz wanted to reach that milestone in front of the Fenway faithful before the team hit the road. So in Papi fashion, he went 3-for-5 at the plate with a pair of homers and an RBI double in the sixth inning.
Ortiz hit his first homer of the evening in the fourth inning, and Prince’s “1999” played as he rounded the bases.
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He reached the milestone just a few innings later with his double in the sixth, and received a rousing ovation as he stood on second with the theme from “The Natural” filling Fenway.
Ortiz is the 18th active player to reach 2,000 hits, and is one of three active players (along with Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano) with at least 2,000 hits, 400 HRs and 1,400 RBIs.
“It’s great to be able to get to that milestone and accomplish numbers,” Ortiz said after the game. “At some point when you’re not playing baseball, you look at them and thank God for giving you a nice career.”
“Great career and great to see the reception, the ovation that he received and rightly so,” said manager John Farrell.
For good measure, Ortiz blasted another home run in Boston’s five-run seventh inning, with the theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey” playing as he rounded the bases.
Wednesday was Ortiz’s 41st multi-home game, with 39 of them coming as a member of the Red Sox — a team record. He now has 26 homers on the season, giving him nine seasons with 25 or more home runs, second to the 14 seasons of 25+ homers Ted Williams put up during his historic career in Boston.
For Ortiz though, he is glad to accomplish 2,000 hits as a member of the Red Sox.
“It means a lot,” he said. “My life, I’ve been built up around this organization, this city and these fans. I think the best thing to ever happen to me was to come to play here in Boston because what I see every day when I get to the field is pretty much what I saw growing up. In my country, people love baseball, people live for baseball and as a player it gets you going. There’s no way there’s a day you don’t feel like coming in and trying to get it done.
“Our fans support this ball club better than anyone else I have seen and getting this done, especially here at home, it was one of those things you will never forget. I will always keep in my mind when I saw everybody on their feet when I got the 2,000th hit,” he said.
Despite missing the first two weeks of the season, Ortiz still leads the Red Sox with a .313 batting average, 26 home runs and 89 RBIs.