The start of the game was delayed by rain for 25 minutes, but the pregame tribute to David Ortiz’s charitable work went on as scheduled on Friday night before the Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-3.
A group of children who received what in some cases was life-saving surgery from the David Ortiz Children’s Fund were on the field representing the 563 children who to date have been helped in the Dominican Republic and greater Boston.
Joaquin Maldonado Mendoza, a 15-year-old from the Dominican Republic who had heart surgery thanks to the Fund, threw out the first pitch. Roberto Clemente Jr., accompanied Mendoza to the mound.
Ortiz received a Peter Max painting commissioned by NESN and the Foxwoods Resort Casino. One thousand lithographs of the painting will be sold to benefit the Children’s Fund.
A large sign that said “Thank You 34” hung on Fenway Park near Gate D. There also was an image of Ortiz mowed into the grass in center field by senior director of grounds Dave Mellor and his crew.
The Tanglewood Festival Chorus performed the national anthems.
Other pregame ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
Ortiz has come to enjoy the atmosphere around his retirement.
“I really appreciate the fact that this organization took the time to honor me. It makes me feel good about what my career has been,” he said. “After this weekend, we’re just going to get prepared for the playoffs.
“I never expected everything to be this way. . . . I don’t expect anything ever. But everything was so beautiful.”
Manager John Farrell did not name a rotation for the Division Series, which is scheduled to start Thursday. Rick Porcello is lined up to start Game 1 with David Price in Game 2.
The Sox have the option of using either Eduardo Rodriguez or Clay Buchholz in Game 3 with the other going in Game 4, if needed.
There are no plans to use Porcello on short rest for Game 4. The Sox also have yet to set their roster. The final spots in the bullpen and on the bench are being discussed.
“There’s a number of things still in the balance here. We’ll get more clarity once we get through Sunday,” Farrell said. “There are still roster decisions to be had. The opponent is going to have a lot to do with that.”
The biggest decision may be what lefthanded relievers make the roster. Robbie Ross Jr. would seem to be lock. A decision could come down to picking two from a group of Fernando Abad, Robby Scott, and Drew Pomeranz.
“We still need to be more consistent from the left side, without a doubt,” Farrell said. “We need more consistent strike-throwing from the left side of the relieving group.”
Pomeranz, dealing with some forearm discomfort, has not pitched in relief all season. He emerged from a bullpen session on Thursday in good shape.
“I’d like to get him on the mound one time this weekend,” Farrell said.
Dustin Pedroia was 3 for 5 and now has 201 hits. He had not hit that mark since 2008, when he had 213 in his MVP season.
“If you get 200 hits, you’re hitting the ball everywhere. I’m just trying to hit the ball where it’s pitched and that’s about it,” Pedroia said. “I didn’t change anything; I didn’t do anything different. Just trying to use my hand-eye coordination.”
Pedroia has a 30-game hit streak against the Blue Jays.
Steven Wright threw 35 pitches in the bullpen before the game at what was described as 70-percent effort. He will throw again on Monday and Wednesday before starting to face hitters.
Wright obviously will not be ready for the Division Series but hopes to be if the Sox advance to the ALCS. That starts on Oct. 14. He likely would pitch in relief if added to the roster.
Wright is trying to come back from a shoulder injury.
Ortiz has two regular-season games and then the postseason to accomplish one goal that has eluded him: hitting a ball as far as the famed red seat in Section 42 of the right-field stands at Fenway Park.
The seat commemorates a ball that Ted Williams hit 500 feet or so in 1946. Ortiz is on record saying he doesn’t believe it happened.
“I’ve been trying for the past 15 years and haven’t even got close to it. I don’t think it’s going to happen,” he said. “I give up on it. Seriously, I give up.”
Ortiz has 1,192 extra-base hits. He is tied with Ken Griffey Jr. and Rafael Palmeiro for eighth all-time. Ortiz’s 127 RBIs are the most for a Red Sox player since he had 137 in 2006 . . . Brad Ziegler, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel combined for three shutout innings of relief. It was the 31st save for Kimbrel, who walked two but struck out Dioner Navarro to end the game. Ziegler has gone 17⅔ innings without allowing an earned run and Uehara 11 innings . . . Ortiz, Mookie Betts and Astros second baseman Jose Altuve are the finalists for the MLB Players Association Player of the Year Award. Oddly, Altuve and Betts are finalists for the American League Outstanding Player Award but Ortiz is not. Mike Trout of the Angels is the other finalist. Porcello is one of three finalists for Outstanding Pitcher along with Zach Britton (Orioles) and Corey Kluber (Indians). Members of the MLBPA voted on the awards on Sept. 20 . . . The 2016 AL East champions banner is already hanging outside Fenway Park on Yawkey Way . . . There was a moment of silence before the game for Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.
Box score: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
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Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.