Boston's David Ortiz, left, celebrates with teammate A.J. Pierzynski after scoring a run in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on Wednesday night. (Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)
Twins fall to Ortiz' power and the Red Sox
Turning every plate appearance into a stop-what-you're-doing moment, Ortiz blasted his way up the home run charts while leading the Red Sox to a 9-4 victory over the Twins at Target Field.
Taking advantage of Twins righthander Kevin Correia and reliever Caleb Thielbar, Ortiz went 3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI in his first four plate appearances. He has 442 home runs now, tying him with Dave Kingman for 39th on the career list. He hit 58 of those home runs as a member of the Twins, the team he broke in with. That's when he was David Ortiz. Now he's Big Papi, with 11 homers and 26 RBI in 36 games. With the Midsummer Classic in the Twin Cities this season, Ortiz would be one of the more popular players in the game if he made the team.
And he is very comfortable hitting in Target Field.
He followed Shane Victorino's single with a double in the first inning. Victorino scored on a groundout and Ortiz scored on Grady Sizemore's double as Boston took a 2-0 lead.
He returned in the third to crush a 1-0 pitch from Correia into the second deck in right for a home run estimated at 420 feet. Sizemore added a RBI single as Boston took a 4-0 lead.
Joe Mauer's sacrifice fly in the third made it 4-1. Boston got a Will Middlebrooks RBI single in the fourth as the Red Sox led 5-1.
Correia was lifted after the fourth inning, replaced by lefthander Caleb Thielbar. His first batter in the fifth: Ortiz.
On a 3-1 pitch, Ortiz buried another ball into the seats in left. Fans hooted and hollered as Boston took a 6-1 lead. Ortiz has 43 career multi-homer games, two as a Twin.
Ortiz made mincemeat of baseballs for a second consecutive night. That means it had to come at the expense of someone.
For his second outing in a row, Correia failed to pitch at least five innings. He left pitches over the heart of the plate and the Red Sox rained hits all over the outfield _ and into the seats
Correia was 9-13 last season with a 4.18 ERA and kept the Twins in plenty of games. He wasn't one of the pitchers the Twins worried about as they crafted their 2014 rotation. They looked to add good arm around him, not replace him.
This season has seen a vast difference in Correia's control and his results as he's 1-5, 6.80.
The Twins had problems with Mike Pelfrey during the first six weeks of the season, finally removing him from the rotation in favor of Samuel Deduno. Pelfrey then revealed that he was battling a groin injury, making it easy for the Twins to place him on the disabled list and send him to Class AAA Rochester for a rehabilitation assignment.
What can they do with Correia? He's healthy. He's just not pitching well.
Phil Hughes has been the best pitcher of the early season for the Twins. Kyle Gibson was sharp early before struggling in his last outing. Samuel Deduno has kept the Twins in games in his two starts since replacing Correia in the rotation. Ricky Nolasco has pitched better of late but has been a tough luck loser.
Now the Twins are challenged with figuring out how to fix Correia.