(Reuters) - David Ortiz blasted two solo home runs for Boston on Saturday in a 7-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays that took the Red Sox a step closer to a place in the American League Championship Series.
Ortiz homered in the first and eighth innings as the Red Sox followed up their 12-2 win over the Rays on Friday with another victory at Fenway Park to lead the best-of-five divisional series 2-0.
Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits and scored three runs while Dustin Pedroia drove in three runs.
John Lackey took the win despite giving up four runs in 5-1/3 innings before the bullpen finished off the Rays.
Tampa Bay’s Cy Young winner David Price took the loss after giving up seven runs.
Price was replaced by Jake McGee after powerful Ortiz gave Boston a 7-4 cushion with a towering home run that sailed high over, and just inside, the right field foul pole.
“He’s the main cog in our line-up,” Boston manager John Farrell said of the Dominican slugger.
“We’re capable of scoring runs in a couple of ways but when you can score in one swing of the bat, as he’s done many times over, he’s a huge threat for us.”
Farrell was quick to also praise the rest of his team.
“Any time you get seven runs off David Price you’ve had a really good night. We knew we had our hands full and I thought we did a great job of running the bases with the ball off the wall again,” he added.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon lamented what he thought was a few unlucky bounces off the high left field wall at Fenway, known as the Green Monster.
”I think we got ‘out Fenwayed’ tonight,“ he said. ”They took advantage of the quirks and we did not.
”I thought David (Price) had really good stuff right up to the last pitch. He had just had a really good seventh inning and then all of a sudden hangs a fast ball to Ortiz, who hits another home run. He did not throw the ball badly at all.
“They’ve got a bunch of veterans who are really smelling it. That’s what you saw there, not that David was bad.”
Tampa Bay had to work extra hard just to get to this far in the playoffs, beating both the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Indians in single elimination games.
They will return home for Game Three on Monday, knowing they need to win both of their home games to make it back to Boston for Game Five.
“I‘m really looking forward to Game Five here,” said Maddon optimistically.
”We’ve just been through a week of backs to the wall. It’s going to be difficult... but I don’t think it’s impossible by any means.
“Boston this time of the year is lovely and I‘m looking forward to coming back in a couple of days.”
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford