ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Ortiz was convinced he hit a home run in the first inning of Saturday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays when, of all people, a Red Sox fan in a red jersey reached over the railing in right field and caught the ball.
The play was reviewed by the umpires and ruled a double. The fan was escorted out of Tropicana Field, reducing the crowd by a decent percentage.
On Sunday, Ortiz didn’t take any chances. He came to the plate in the third inning of a scoreless game with two runners on and worked the count full against Chris Archer. The next pitch was a fastball over the heart of the plate.
Ortiz drove the ball deep into the stands in right field. That home run was the difference for the Red Sox in a 3-2 victory and no review was required.
“Make sure they go way over the fence then I don’t have to deal with that crap,” Big Papi said.
The Red Sox finished their road trip 2-5, winning the first game and the last one. They open a six-game homestand on Monday night against Toronto.
Ortiz was 8 of 28 with two doubles, five home runs, and 12 RBIs on the trip. He has 25 homers and 76 RBIs on the season.
Ortiz’s 456 career home runs put him in 35th place all-time, one ahead of Adam Dunn of the White Sox.
After being booed loudly all weekend, Ortiz flipped the bat toward the Red Sox dugout after the home run and slowly trotted around the bases. He clearly enjoyed the shot.
Archer did not.
“I don’t know what makes him think he can showboat the way he does and then nobody retaliate, nobody looks at him a funny way or nobody pitches him inside,” said the 25-year-old righthander, who has yet to spend a full season in the majors.
Archer then went on to lecture Ortiz.
“I hope he realizes there’s more that goes into it than just him,” he said. “I don’t know, I feel like I can’t say that your true character is defined by one action, but multiple actions speak to who you are.”
Ortiz didn’t have much reaction to the comments.
“What can I tell you? Players in today’s game are too sensitive about things,” he said. “I’ll just leave it at that. I think he’s a good pitcher; I think he’s got great stuff. He’s a guy that I think is going to be pretty good. But it takes some time to get to that level.
“There’s always going to be comments out there. He’s not the right guy to be saying that I don’t think. He’s got two days in the league and he’s complaining about [stuff] like that.”
This is not the first time Ortiz has tangled with the Rays. He homered in the Division Series against David Price last October and angered the lefty by admiring the blast.
Price complained about Ortiz but apologized to him over the telephone a day later. That proved duplicitous when Price drilled Ortiz with a fastball May 30 at Fenway Park, a game that later dissolved into a brawl.
Price faced the Red Sox without incident on Friday. Now Archer is angry.
“It’s a bunch of [nonsense],” Ortiz said. “These guys act like they’re your friend and then this stuff happens.”
Ortiz is more concerned about potential trades than angry Rays. The news that the Red Sox are listening to offers for ace lefthander Jon Lester has him concerned.
“That’s like a rebuilding-type of situation,” Ortiz said. “Not much I can say about it. I guess they have their reasons to do it. Hopefully it doesn’t happen. Lester is one of the best pitchers in the game and that’s a keeper. Hopefully he’ll stick around and keep on giving us the good seasons that he always gives us.”
Righthander Allen Webster started Sunday in place of Jake Peavy, who was traded to the Giants on Friday. Much like last season, the 24-year-old mixed flashes of promise with longer stretches of maddening inconsistency.
Webster allowed two runs on three hits over 5⅓ innings. He walked five and struck out four. Only 42 of his 86 pitches were strikes.
“He kept things under control,” manager John Farrell said.
Webster allowed two runs in the third inning. There might have been more had Jackie Bradley Jr. not made a spectacular catch in center field in the sixth inning to take extra bases away from Evan Longoria.
Bradley, who was shaded to right field, raced back toward left center and made a leaping catch at the warning track.
Webster was going to back up third base when Bradley made the catch.
“That’s an amazing play,” Webster said.
The tricky part for Bradley was not losing the ball in the off-white roof of the stadium after he turned to run.
“Definitely makes it tougher,” he said. “It’s harder to pick it back up.”
Craig Breslow, Edward Mujica, Andrew Miller, Junichi Tazawa, and Koji Uehara combined on 3⅔ scoreless innings. It was the 21st save for Uehara, his first since July 19.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.