ANAHEIM, Calif. – Jeff Mathis and Torii Hunter came through for the Los Angeles Angels. The Boston Red Sox keep waiting for David Ortiz to do the same.
Mathis hit an RBI single in the 12th inning, Hunter had a two-run double and an RBI triple, and the Angels beat the Red Sox, 5-4, Thursday.
Ortiz went 0-for-7 and stranded 12 runners as his average plummeted to .208. The five-time All-Star dressed slowly while facing his corner locker, then turned around and saw a swarm of reporters surrounding him before saying: “Sorry, guys. I don’t feel like talking today. Just put down, ‘Papi stinks.’ ”
Ortiz has gone 144 at-bats since his last home run, which came Sept. 22 against Cleveland’s Zach Jackson at Fenway Park. He is one at-bat from equaling his longest dry spell in the majors.
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“A guy like that who’s big and strong, he’s going to knock out eight home runs in 12 days somehow and he’s going to catch up with everybody once he gets that swing down,” said Hunter, Ortiz’s teammate in Minnesota. “I’m almost 100 percent sure both those injuries have a lot to do with his homerless streak.
“When you have a wrist injury and a knee injury at the same time, it messes up your mechanics and you’re trying to figure out ways to hit while you’re hurting,” Hunter said. “So you’ve got to tweak your swing — and that’s not his swing. But he’s going to be fine. I just told him, ‘Just go out there and do what you do, and at the end of the season watch what you have.’ ”
Ortiz averaged 41.6 home runs and 128.4 RBI during his first five seasons with the Red Sox before injuries last season limited him to 23 homers and 89 RBI in 109 games. He had a career-high 54 homers in 2006, the year after he drove in a career-best 148 runs.
“Everyone goes through stuff like this. I’ve definitely been through something like that,” said teammate Dustin Pedroia, the reigning American League MVP. “We’re pulling for him. Hopefully, the corner is right there and he’s going to turn it.”
Ortiz struck out three times and left the bases loaded again in the 12th against Jason Bulger (1-1) with a dribbler in front of the plate.
“We need David to get going, obviously, and I believe he will,” Boston catcher Jason Varitek said. “But the guy makes a great 3-2 pitch to him with the bases loaded and two outs and backdoors a breaking ball, which he hadn’t even thrown for a strike yet. That was a pretty good pitcher’s pitch.”