05/14/09 9:53 PM ET
Ortiz quiet at plate, after loss for Red Sox
Slugger goes 0-for-7, ties club mark by stranding 12 runners
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
Consider the brief words of David Ortiz -- who had just gone 0-for-7 and tied a franchise record of 12 men left on base -- after the Red Sox's 5-4 loss to the Angels in 12 innings.
"Sorry, guys, I don't feel like talking right now," Ortiz said. "Just put down 'Papi stinks.'"
Ortiz equaled a dubious franchise mark previously achieved by Trot Nixon in a 13-inning game against the Cardinals on June 12, 2003.
This game ultimately ended with one out in the bottom of the 12th inning, when Jeff Mathis ripped an RBI single to left against Manny Delcarmen. Pinch-runner Reggie Willits easily scored from second to end a compelling, and yes, exasperating afternoon of baseball for the Red Sox.
The missed opportunities spoiled strong individual performances by Julio Lugo (5-for-6) And Dustin Pedroia (4-for-6).
"I know we stranded a ton of guys. Up until the end, we've got Pedey and David at the plate with guys on base," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "I thought we were going to win. We had a lot of opportunities. We couldn't cash in. On the road, that makes it even harder. But no, I thought we were still going to win."
If Ortiz was having a normal season, the performance might have been easier to stomach. But the left-handed slugger is in the throes of what is easily his worst start since arriving in Boston in 2003. Ortiz is hitting .208. Known for his power, Ortiz hasn't homered yet this season over a span of 130 at-bats.
"I know he feels it," said Francona, who was ejected in the 10th inning for arguing balls and strikes. "He's pressing. He's trying too hard. Everything. It was a rough day for him."
It wasn't just Ortiz. The Red Sox finished the day 3-for-23 with runners in scoring position. They left 17 on base, falling five short of the club record for an extra-inning game.
With Pedroia on first, Ortiz struck out looking in the first inning. He came up in the third with Pedroia on second and flew out to right. In the fourth, Ortiz stepped to the dish with the bases loaded and two outs and struck out swinging.
On and on it went. In the sixth, with Pedroia on second and two outs, Ortiz struck out looking. In the eighth, he had another chance with the bases loaded, and this time he nearly became a hero, getting retired on a flyout to deep left. More disappointment awaited the big slugger, who came up with Jacoby Ellsbury on second and two outs in the 10th and grounded to first.
After all of that, Ortiz still had a chance to win the game, stepping to the plate in the top of the 12th, the bases full of Red Sox. After working the count to 3-2, Ortiz took a half-swing and tapped the ball to the catcher and was thrown out at first.
"Of course, we need David to get going," Red Sox captain Jason Varitek said. "And I believe he will."
Pedroia, who had missed the previous two games with a strained right groin, produced a tying, two-out single in the eighth against Angels reliever Scot Shields.
"The good thing is we did leave some guys on, but we kept leaving ourselves with opportunities," Varitek said. "We came back and tied the game and forced the extra innings. We keep putting ourselves in those situations we'll find ways to be successful."
Jason Bay, who has been a late-inning hero countless times already this season for the Red Sox, came close again in that eighth, hitting a towering fly to deep left that was caught by Juan Rivera just in front of the wall.
"I thought if I had gotten a little closer to the foul pole," Bay said. "I got it just a little bit off the end. I thought maybe off the bat it had a little bit of a chance, but not this time."
The Angels had a chance to go back in front in their half of the eighth when Bobby Abreu hit a one-out triple -- the Angels' third three-bagger of the day -- to center that Ellsbury got a glove on but mistimed his leap.
Ramon Ramirez came on to face Torii Hunter and he got the job done, thanks to his defense. Hunter hit a fly ball to right that barely reached the outfield. With Pedroia playing in, right fielder J.D. Drew came in and made a fine running catch. In one motion, Drew flipped the ball home and nailed Abreu, who had tagged from third.
"I knew I was in position to make a play on it, but I didn't know if Ells was going to beat me to the ball or not," Drew said. "It was in the air for a long time. It just worked out that I was able to come in at the last minute and get rid of it. You don't have time to set your feet and all that."
If ever the Red Sox had a chance to take the lead, it was in the top of the 10th, which started Francona's ejection. Lugo smacked a leadoff double. With Ellsbury on second and one out, Pedroia stepped to the plate and smoked one to center. However, Hunter raced to the wall and made a tremendous running catch.
"That was a great play," said Pedroia. "That's why he's got a truckload of Gold Gloves. He saved the game for them and kept them going. That's why he's the best."
Right-hander Brad Penny made the start for the Sox, allowing seven hits and four runs over 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out four.
As for Ortiz, he will try to get his groove back beginning Friday night, when the Red Sox open a three-game series in Seattle.
"We're pulling for him and he's going to get out of it," Pedroia said. "He's just got to find a way."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.