SEATTLE — David Ortiz broke the big-league record for career hits as a designated hitter in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Seattle Mariners, and by the middle of the game, it felt as if the veteran Boston Red Sox slugger had amassed all 1,689 of them in this series.
Ortiz, 37, continued his assault on Seattle pitching, not to mention the record books, with a 2-for-3 night that included three RBIs in Boston’s 11-4 win at Safeco Field. Through the first three games of the series, Ortiz is 8-for-10 with two homers, three doubles, four RBIs and five runs.
Not that Ortiz thinks the series has been more productive than any others.
“I’ve been hitting .300 the whole season,” he said with a smile. “Ain’t you been watching?”
Ortiz had a double and a two-run homer while leading the Red Sox (56-37) to an early 5-0 lead Wednesday, then the bottom fell out on the Mariners when Boston sent eight batters to the plate and scored four runs in the sixth to open up a 9-0 advantage.
Boston did most of its damage against Mariners starter Aaron Harang, who gave up eight hits and seven runs in five innings. Harang (4-8) walked three batters and didn’t have a strikeout.
“Aaron struggled. He battled and tried to get through it,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “It wasn’t a very good ballgame at all (for the team). We just didn’t play very well.”
Boston starter Felix Doubront (6-3) had a much different night, holding Seattle to three hits through six scoreless innings before the Mariners finally got a run across in the seventh. The left-hander allowed just the one run on five hits over seven innings, striking out six.
“He had his game under control,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “We were able to put some runs up on the board, and he didn’t go out and change his approach despite having a sizeable lead.”
Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury, in his first game of the series after being sidelined by a sprained wrist, went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI before being replaced by pinch hitter Mike Carp in the seventh inning of a one-sided game.
Ortiz led off the second inning with a double that broke the record for hits by a DH, as he passed the mark set by Harold Baines. The historic drive was a liner into the gap on a 3-1 pitch from Harang. The fans gave Ortiz a standing ovation, and the 37-year-old responded by tipping his helmet and patting his chest.
“It’s great to be a part of it,” Ortiz said of the list of DHs with the most career hits, which includes former Mariners star Edgar Martinez at No. 3. “It’s good when your name get mentioned with some of the greatest to ever play the game. I used to watch Edgar and Harold Baines hit. To have your name mentioned right against theirs, it’s a wonderful thing.”
Ortiz came around to score on the first of two sacrifice flies as Boston took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second.
The veteran slugger then added a two-out, two-run homer in the third inning as the Red Sox opened up a 4-0 lead.
The double and two-run home run gave Ortiz 1,690 hits as a DH after he had tied Baines’ 1,688 the previous night with four hits, including a solo home run.
Ortiz also holds the DH records for the most runs (1,018), doubles (432), homers (370), extra-base hits (819) and RBIs (1,208).
Boston added a run on Shane Victorino’s RBI single in the fourth, bringing home Ellsbury as a pair of injured veterans was back contributing for the Red Sox.
The Mariners wound up scoring three consolation runs in the eighth inning against Brandon Workman. The right-hander gave up a home run to the first batter he faced as a big-leaguer, Brendan Ryan.
NOTES: The Red Sox continued to make waves on the transaction wire Wednesday, when they optioned RHPs Allen Webster and Alfredo Aceves to Triple-A Pawtucket and replaced them with RHPs Steven Wright and Pedro Beato. Webster struggled in his Tuesday start, and Wright looks like the leading contender to replace him as the Sunday starter in Oakland. Nine Boston pitchers have been involved in moves since Sunday. … Mariners RHP Stephen Pryor, who is currently on the 60-day disabled list due to a torn lat muscle, threw 25 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday afternoon. Wedge said afterward that Pryor looked good and added that he’ll throw another simulated game Saturday but did not give a timetable for Pryor’s return. … … Mariners 2B Nick Franklin came out of the game because of a sore knee that flared up in the seventh inning. “We’ll see how he feels (Thursday),” Wedge said.