BOSTON -- David Ortiz hit his first home run for the Red Sox on April 27, 2003, in Anaheim. His pinch-hit, solo shot in the 14th inning broke a tie and Boston went on to win, 6-4. Ortiz still remembers it.
A decade passed, and Ortiz hit a few more home runs. He certainly doesn't recall all of them, but Saturday's were surely special.
With a two-run shot to dead-center in the third, Ortiz became the third player in Red Sox history to hit 400 home runs with the club, joining Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.
To hit that many home runs with one club, a player needs longevity, talent and commitment from the organization. Ortiz has those, but Saturday served as a reminder that he's been around quite a while.
"Old," Ortiz said with a smile when asked how he felt joining that elite company. "Nah, man, it's an honor to be up there mentioned with those legends. … You come to this organization to play and you're not expecting your name to be mentioned next to those guys."
Ortiz is 51 behind Yastrzemski for second on the club's all-time list. Williams' franchise record of 521 dingers will be tough to break. But Yastrzemski hit his in 3,308 games with Boston. Williams needed 2,292. Ortiz has played 1,630, with more than a few left.
"When you consider how many fewer games he's done it in, it's really remarkable," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He's in rare company with the two other guys that he's now linked to. To see it in roughly 60 percent of the games with one and almost half the games of the other, it's amazing what he's been able to do here."
Ortiz added another two-run blast in the fifth and has 459 home runs in his career. He yanked a slider down the right-field line to the shortest part of the park for that one. In the eighth, the 38-year-old hit a two-RBI double to give Boston a 9-6 lead over the Astros. He exited for a pinch-runner and received a standing ovation from the crowd and followed with a curtain call. In the 10-7 victory, Ortiz went 3-for-5 and tied a career high with six RBIs.
Both of the slugger's blasts came off right-hander Brad Peacock, giving Ortiz 45 career multi-home run games.
Once a Twins' castoff who hit just 58 dingers in 455 games with Minnesota, Ortiz has more than flourished in Boston. But he never expected anything like this while trotting the bases on April 27, 2003, in Anaheim.
"No idea, to be honest with you," he said. "You play the game, you go through the flow, and you don't know how long you're going to play. What your career is going to be like. The one thing that you can control is come in, play hard, play the game, and let God take care of the rest of it.
"You don't play the game just to think about personal numbers. You play the game to do it right. Whatever you accomplish, it's a plus."
Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.