Slugger hits one of Red Sox's three HRs, lauds Rays ace
By Troy Provost-Heron
ST. PETERSBURG -- David Ortiz has nothing but high praise for Rays starter Chris Archer and the stuff he possesses.
"I saw [the success he's having now] coming," Ortiz said after the Red Sox's 5-3 victory Sunday at Tropicana Field. "When he first came up, I saw his release and the explosion coming out of his ball and I knew he was going to become a star in this game."
That stuff that has made Archer into an elite pitcher, though, has not affected Ortiz. Coming into Sunday's game, Boston's designated hitter was batting .333 (6-for-18) with a homer and eight RBIs off the righty, and he added to that total.
In the fourth, with Xander Bogaerts on first after a leadoff single, Big Papi deposited a hanging 1-1 slider into the seats in right field to extend the Red Sox lead to 4-0.
"He threw me a couple [sliders] before that, one back door and one that I grounded out on [in my first at-bat]," Ortiz said. "He had the slider going today, but he left one on the plate and I hit it well.
Ortiz, however, was not the only Red Sox player to take advantage of an Archer mistake. After watching the first four Boston batters go down Pablo Sandoval turned the tide by taking a 1-1 changeup and wrapping it off the left-field foul pole to put the Red Sox on the board first.
"We tried to adjust out there and take advantage of everything," Sandoval said. "This is my second time facing him. He's a great pitcher, but we have a bat in the hand … I didn't think it would go that far. I just tried to put good contact."
Then, one pitch after Mike Napoli was ejected, Alejandro De Aza launched the second home run of the inning just over the fence in right field. The Red Sox would get to Archer one final time in the sixth when Sandoval hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Bogaerts and make it 5-1.
Archer came into the contest with a 9-4 record and a 2.01 ERA -- the lowest in the American League -- but the offensive surge from the Red Sox was nothing new. In nine career starts against Boston, he is 1-6 with a 5.48 ERA.
"I'm surprised that we are hitting really well against him," Ortiz said. "What can I tell you? Whenever you face a pitcher of that caliber, you want to make sure that whenever they make a mistake you execute because he is not making mistakes out there every day."
Troy Provost-Heron is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.