The Red Sox overshadowed David Ortiz’s 2,000th career hit Wednesday, tying their franchise record with eight homers in a 20-4 drubbing of the Tigers.
Ortiz was a big part of the barrage, hitting two of the homers. His 2,000th hit, sandwiched in between the homers, was a double.
Ortiz became the 275th player, at least according to Baseball-reference’s leaderboard, to reach 2,000 hits. There are five designated hitters (guys who started at DH at least half of the time) ahead of him: Harold Baines (2,866), Frank Thomas (2,468), Edgar Martinez (2,247), Don Baylor (2,135) and Hal McRae (2,091).
Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava, Ryan Lavarnway and Mike Napoli also homered for the Red Sox tonight. It was the second eight-homer game in franchise history. The other came on July 4, 1977 against the Blue Jays. Among the players to homer in that one were Carl Yastrzemski, Fred Lynn (twice) and Jim Rice.
The Red Sox were the first team in three years to hit eight homers in a game. The last to do it was the Blue Jays on Aug. 7, 2010. Before that, the Yankees did it on July 31, 2007.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.