BOSTON -- There are plenty of reasons batters wear helmets on the basepaths, and Friday night's game between the Astros and Red Sox at Fenway Park provided another prime example -- one that also kept a key inning alive for Boston.
In the fifth inning of the Red Sox's 12-8 loss in 10 innings, slugger David Ortiz found himself advancing to second base after Hanley Ramirez hit a ground ball to third, which was fielded cleanly by Luis Valbuena and thrown to second for the forceout. As Jose Altuve tried to turn the a double play, however, Houston's talented but diminutive second baseman failed to account for one important factor: The prodigious size that earned Ortiz the nickname "Big Papi."
Altuve's throw struck a sliding Ortiz squarely on the crown of his helmet, and then deflected up and sailed into the crowd along the first-base line. Ramirez reached base safely on a fielder's choice that scored Xander Bogaerts from third, and he advanced to second on Altuve's error.
The Sox tied the game in the next at-bat when Pablo Sandoval hit a run-scoring single, capping a three-run rally.
Though scary at first sight, Ortiz walked off the field under his own power and pointed to his helmet, seemingly signaling to the crowd that he would be all right.
Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.