Fresh off a 2-for-22 road trip through St. Petersburg and Chicago, the veteran slugger was more interested in rediscovering a power stroke that had deserted him in recent weeks.
Then came a 2-2 fastball from Baltimore reliever Bob McCrory, who within moments turned and watched as Big Papi's first big fly since Aug. 26 soared toward center field for a solo blast.
In the process, Ortiz made a little history, belting his 269th career homer as a DH to match Thomas -- though he didn't know it until being informed by reporters after the Red Sox's 10-0 whitewashing of the Orioles at Fenway Park.
"I did?" Ortiz asked. "Wow. That's a good accomplishment. Frank Thomas is a 500-home-run hitter, so to be tied with him, that's special."
Tuesday wasn't the first time Ortiz reached a milestone during his streaky 2009 season, as he collected career long ball No. 300 in a contest July 9 against the Royals.
After a slow start to the year that left him homerless until May 20, Ortiz has gone deep 22 times since June 6.
John Barone is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.