KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For David Ortiz, every good day at the plate seems to add another milestone to his résumé. But the solo home run he belted in the fourth inning Sunday was particularly notable.
It was the 476th home run of his career, putting Ortiz in sole possession of 29th place in history. He had been tied with Hall-of-Famers Stan Musial and Willie Stargell.
“When they start mentioning your name with people like that, the all-timers, it’s something I appreciate,” Ortiz said after the Red Sox beat the Kansas City Royals, 13-2. “It’s great, man. I’ve been playing this game a long time. As a kid you dream of watching these guys play, but you don’t dream that far of being mentioned right next to them when it comes down to numbers.
“You have a good career, you have a productive career, and you work hard and you can get there just like they did.”
Ortiz needs 18 home runs to pass Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff and move into 27th place.
Ortiz has 476 home runs and 559 doubles. Only Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmeiro, and Albert Pujols have reached those levels.
Ortiz’s 1,053 career extra-base hits are 26th all-time.
The home run Sunday, Ortiz’s 10th of the season, was sent over the Kansas City bullpen and into the stands in right field.
Ortiz, who was 2 for 4, is hitting .282 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in his last 20 games since being taken out of the lineup for two days to work on his swing.
On Monday, Ortiz will host the third annual David Ortiz Children’s Fund Gala at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. The event raises funds to provide pediatric health care to children in New England and the Dominican Republic.
Heidi Watney of MLB Network and comedian Lenny Clarke will be the emcees.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who sprained his left ankle Saturday night, sat out Sunday but jogged in the outfield beforehand.
Sandoval appears on track to return for Tuesday’s home game against Baltimore.
“I’ll play then,” he said.
Catcher Blake Swihart, who left Saturday’s game in the sixth inning with a sprained left foot, was noticeably limping as he made his way through the clubhouse. Manager John Farrell said he could have played in an emergency.
Swihart will get an MRI on Monday. X-rays taken Saturday were negative.
“It’s better than it was,” Swihart said. “I think Tuesday is possible.”
Farrell said the Red Sox do not expect Swihart to land on the disabled list. But the team did claim catcher Erik Kratz off waivers from the Royals.
Kratz was not put on the active roster Sunday. He might not remain with the Sox if Swihart is able to play Tuesday. Farrell said the move was precautionary.
The 35-year-old Kratz was designated for assignment June 11 after being activated off the disabled list. He has played only four major league games this season and had four at-bats.
Kratz has played parts of six seasons in the majors with four teams. He is a career .217 hitter in 180 games.
Brock Holt started at third base in place of Sandoval and Sandy Leon caught. The backup catcher was Mike Napoli, who has 539 games of experience behind the plate but none since 2012.
He wasn’t needed, but was willing to get behind the plate.
“I wouldn’t let anybody else do it,” Napoli said.
Rick Porcello is 4-13 with a 5.57 earned run average and 1.47 WHIP in 20 starts dating to last season. What’s particularly alarming is Porcello’s 7.50 ERA in his last six games.
Opponents have hit .305 against him in that stretch and he’s been prone to big innings. Both Porcello and Farrell say it’s not a physical issue.
“This comes down to execution, plain and simple,” Farrell said. “There are times he’s trying to incorporate a full four-pitch mix and yet to simplify things by re-establishing and being consistent with his two-seamer is first and foremost.”
Porcello was essentially a league-average starter from 2009-14 relying on his two-seam sinking fastball. He started to employ a four-seam fastball more often last season and had success at times. The same was true in April.
Now the pitch is hurting him.
The Red Sox want Porcello to throw his two-seamer to the bottom of the strike zone and pitch to contact.
Porcello once threw two-seamers at least half the time and that is down to approximately one-third of the time this season. Farrell said Porcello had improved velocity earlier in the season and was able to throw pitches higher in the strike zone.
“A little bit of a Catch-22. While the strikeouts did climb a little bit, it started to take away from the overall location of his two-seamer,” Farrell said.
Hanigan set to go
Ryan Hanigan will join Triple A Pawtucket on Monday on an injury rehabilitation assignment. He has been out since May 2 with a fractured right hand . . . Shane Victorino said there are tentative plans for him to start playing in the minors later this week. He did base-running drills Sunday. Victorino is on the disabled list with a strained left calf and last played May 23 . . . Righthander Justin Masterson said he would not be making a start for Pawtucket on Monday. That suggests he will go into the bullpen as soon as Tuesday. Masterson has been on the disabled list since May 13 and has started four games in the minors . . . Daniel Nava, who has been on the disabled list since May 26 with a strained left thumb, recently received an injection and will try to start hitting again Tuesday . . . The Sox signed four more draft picks: outfielder Tate Matheny (fourth round), outfielder Jagger Rusconi (fifth round), lefthander Logan Allen (eighth round), and righthander Nick Duron (31st round).Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.