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Whether it was launching a home run nearly 440 feet into the stands in right-center field or barreling down the third base line to strike fear into catcher Joe Mauer, the Boston Red Sox slugger put his finger prints all over his latest victory over his former team.
Ortiz had four hits and three RBI and delivered the go-ahead single with two outs in the ninth inning to lift the Red Sox to an 8-6 victory over the Twins on Monday night.
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"I've been gone for years already," Ortiz said, insisting there's no hard feelings about being let go. "In this business, sometimes you're right and sometimes you're wrong. One thing I would say about the Twins organization is I always thank them for giving me the opportunity to come play at this level."
Ortiz hit a two-run homer in the sixth and finished a triple shy of the cycle. Jarrod Saltalamacchia added a homer and two RBI to help the Red Sox win for the fifth time in seven games and move 1½ games ahead of the idle Yankees in the AL East.
Ortiz debuted with the Twins in 1997, but injuries prevented him from realizing his full potential, so the Twins let him leave after 2002. It wasn't until he arrived in Boston in 2003 that he blossomed, becoming "Big Papi," one of the most feared hitters in the game.
He's been making the Twins pay ever since. In 42 career games against them, Ortiz is hitting .327 with 11 homers and 31 RBI.
"Of course you get a little excited when you play the team you've played for before," Ortiz said. "But you go with the same intensity against everybody."
Jason Kubel had a homer among his three hits and two RBI for the Twins, who have lost five straight.
Alfredo Aceves (8-1) gave up one run in an inning in relief of Tim Wakefield for the victory. Wakefield gave up five runs -- three earned -- and eight hits with five strikeouts. But he missed out on victory No. 200 for the third straight start when Aceves gave up the game-tying single to Kubel in the eighth.
"The last three starts, we've won two out of three of them," Wakefield said. "So that's the most important thing is keeping our lead in the American League East right now."
Glen Perkins (3-2) gave up two runs -- one earned -- in 1 2/3 innings to take the loss. He left with the game tied and a runner on second, but Joe Nathan gave up a single to Ortiz and an RBI-double to Saltalamacchia to let the game slip away.
Scott Baker gave up five runs and nine hits with five strikeouts in six innings for the Twins.
The Twins scored just four runs -- and committed five errors -- in a weekend sweep at the hands of the Chicago White Sox, a series so ugly that manager Ron Gardenhire said his team "didn't play worth a flip."
They showed more fight on Monday, but it wasn't enough against the best team in the AL.
"You know you're going to have those battles with a lineup like that," Gardenhire said. "And unfortunately we couldn't finish them off."
After a four-hour, 15-minute grinder against the Yankees on Sunday night, the Red Sox didn't arrive at their Minneapolis hotel until just before 5 a.m. Their legs looked a little heavy and their bats a little slow in the early going as they tried to shake the cobwebs for yet another nationally televised game.
The Twins scored three times in the second and Kubel led off the fourth with a homer to give the Twins a 4-1 lead.
A considerable contingent of Red Sox fans started with the chants of "Let's go Red Sox!" in the sixth, and it appeared to wake up their team. Carl Crawford led off with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly from Adrian Gonzalez. Ortiz hit a two-run homer and Saltalamacchia made it back-to-back with a solo shot that tied it 5-5.
Jed Lowrie had one hit in his first game since June 16, when he went on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder.
In the eighth, Ortiz lumbered down the third baseline, and Mauer may have taken the eye off shortstop Matt Tolbert's throw because it skipped off the tip of his glove and allowed Ortiz to score.
"He heard the big elephant coming," Ortiz said with a hearty laugh. "He was shaking when I was coming."
|David Ortiz connects on a ninth-inning single for his fourth hit of the game, putting Boston up for good against Minnesota. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Boston Red Sox|
|Jacoby Ellsbury, CF||5||0||2||0||0||1||1||.319|
|Carl Crawford, LF||4||1||1||0||0||2||1||.259|
|Adrian Gonzalez, 1B||3||0||2||1||1||0||0||.350|
|Darnell McDonald, PR-RF||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.165|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||5||2||2||0||0||1||2||.311|
|David Ortiz, DH||5||3||4||3||0||0||0||.295|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C||5||1||2||2||0||1||2||.257|
|Josh Reddick, RF||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.331|
|a- Mike Aviles, PH-RF^3B||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.223|
|Jed Lowrie, 3B-1B||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.270|
|Marco Scutaro, SS||4||0||3||1||0||0||1||.280|
|a-hit into fielder's choice for Reddick in the 8th|
|2B - David Ortiz (30, Perkins), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (16, Nathan)|
|3B - Carl Crawford (5, Baker)|
|HR - David Ortiz (22, Baker), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (11, Baker)|
|SF - Adrian Gonzalez (4)|
|SH - Carl Crawford (2)|
|RBI - Adrian Gonzalez (92), David Ortiz 3 (74), Jarrod Saltalamacchia 2 (38), Marco Scutaro (25)|
|2-OUT RBI - David Ortiz (28), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (11), Marco Scutaro (13)|
|CS - Jacoby Ellsbury (11, 2nd base by Perkins/Mauer)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|Outfield Assists - Josh Reddick 1|
|DP - Lowrie-Pedroia-Gonzalez|
|PB - Jarrod Saltalamacchia (15)|
|E - Jed Lowrie (11, Misplayed grounder), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (3, Missed catch of throw)|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Alfredo Aceves (BS,2; W,8-1)||1||2||1||1||0||0||0||3.18|
|Jonathan Papelbon (S,25)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||3.21|
|Pitches-Strikes - Tim Wakefield 101-74, Alfredo Aceves 13-8, Jonathan Papelbon 14-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Wakefield 9-7, Alfredo Aceves 2-1, Jonathan Papelbon 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Tim Wakefield 28, Alfredo Aceves 5, Jonathan Papelbon 3|
|Denard Span, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.271|
|Trevor Plouffe, 2B||4||2||2||0||0||1||0||.200|
|Joe Mauer, C||4||0||1||1||0||1||1||.285|
|Michael Cuddyer, 1B||4||1||1||0||0||0||2||.297|
|Jason Kubel, RF||4||2||3||2||0||0||0||.312|
|Jason Repko, PR-RF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.245|
|Jim Thome, DH||4||1||1||1||0||0||1||.249|
|Danny Valencia, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.242|
|Delmon Young, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.263|
|Matt Tolbert, SS||3||0||2||0||0||0||0||.209|
|a- Ben Revere, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.252|
|a-grounded out for Tolbert in the 9th|
|2B - Trevor Plouffe (5, Aceves), Joe Mauer (9, Wakefield), Michael Cuddyer (24, Wakefield), Jim Thome (11, Wakefield)|
|HR - Jason Kubel (9, Wakefield)|
|RBI - Joe Mauer (22), Jason Kubel 2 (43), Jim Thome (31)|
|2-OUT RBI - Joe Mauer (6), Jason Kubel (16)|
|CS - Matt Tolbert (2, 2nd base by Wakefield/Saltalamacchia)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|Outfield Assists - Denard Span 1|
|DP - Valencia-Plouffe-Cuddyer|
|E - Joe Mauer (3, Missed catch of throw)|
|Glen Perkins (L,3-2)||1.2||3||2||1||0||1||0||1.99|
|IBB - Gonzalez by Phil Dumatrait|
|Pitches-Strikes - Scott Baker 93-66, Phil Dumatrait 14-6, Matt Capps 5-3, Glen Perkins 23-19, Joe Nathan 15-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Baker 3-9, Phil Dumatrait 1-0, Matt Capps 1-0, Glen Perkins 4-0, Joe Nathan 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Scott Baker 26, Phil Dumatrait 4, Matt Capps 1, Glen Perkins 8, Joe Nathan 4|
|Attendance - 40080|
|Game Time - 3:00|
|Temperature - 82|
|Umpires - Home - Marvin Hudson, First Base - Tim McClelland, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Brian Runge|