Ortiz, Red Sox end 10-game skid, rally past Braves

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 26, 2014 at 6:51 pm •  Published: May 26, 2014
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ATLANTA (AP) — David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox were in desperate need of a big hit.

On Monday, at long last, Big Papi delivered.

Ortiz homered and drove in four runs as the defending World Series champions ended their 10-game losing streak, rallying from a five-run deficit to defeat the Atlanta Braves 8-6.

"It's been too long since we last shook hands following a win," manager John Farrell.

Farrell called it "a total team win," then pointed to the two powerful bats in the middle of the lineup — Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia.

"In 10 games prior to today, there was one RBI combined," he said. "That's not to put it all on them, but they being in the middle of the lineup, their contributions are key to us."

Pedroia hit a two-run single before Ortiz tied the game with a three-run homer off Ervin Santana in the fifth inning.

With Red Sox fans at Turner Field chanting "Papi! Papi!" Ortiz then gave Boston the lead with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly off Ian Thomas (1-2) in the seventh.

"It seems like every big situation we need him, he came through for us," Pedroia said of Ortiz, the World Series MVP last October.

Ortiz hit only .118 with no RBIs in Boston's longest losing streak in 20 years, but that didn't dim his star appeal to Red Sox Nation South. The roar following Ortiz's homer startled A.J. Pierzynski, who was waiting on deck.

"When David hit that homer, that was probably the loudest cheer as a visitor I've ever heard, especially since I was on deck and sort of got the full force of it," Pierzynski said.

"It was one of the loudest moments I can remember in any stadium."

The Red Sox trailed 6-1 after the fourth, with starter Clay Buchholz walking a career-high eight in only three-plus innings.

Buchholz has a 7.02 ERA after allowing six runs, and Farrell said "there's no determination" about the right-hander making his next start.

"It seems to be snowballing on me right now," Buchholz said, adding he had confidence during his pregame work in the bullpen.

Buchholz matched his season high of three walks in the second inning and added three walks in the Braves' three-run third. Justin Upton had a two-run double and Gerald Laird had a run-scoring single off Buchholz's left foot.

Buchholz didn't get out of Atlanta's three-run fourth. Heyward walked and scored on B.J. Upton's double, and Justin Upton and Simmons added RBI singles.

Despite the poor start by Buchholz, the Red Sox came back to end their worst skid since an 11-game slide in 1994. The losing streak was the longest for a defending World Series champion since the depleted 1998 Marlins had two 11-game skids.