Ortiz lifts Sox to another thrilling win

Ortiz lifts Sox to another thrilling win

BOSTON -- Charlie Manuel wasn't going to make the same mistake twice. After Mark Loretta doubled, representing the winning run in the 11th inning against the Phillies on Monday afternoon, the Phillies manager had Tom Gordon intentionally walk David Ortiz, who had hit a walk-off home run off Gordon on Saturday.

However, after taking the lead and then squandering it in the 12th inning, the Phillies and reliever Clay Condrey didn't have a choice but to pitch to Ortiz with runners on first and second in a tie game.

In the only predictable moment of a wild game, Ortiz delivered a line-drive single to left-center field to give the Red Sox an 8-7 win in a marathon that last four hours, 59 minutes. It was Ortiz's third walk-off hit of the season and his second in as many games, and it extended Boston's season-high winning streak to nine.

"You definitely have to [quiet your mind] and concentrate on whatever you want to do out there," Ortiz said. "Today, [teammates reacted] like they were kind of used to it.

"The whole game today, they were pitching me on and off, on and off. They weren't trying to give me anything to hit, so you've got to be patient when faced with that situation. It was a changeup, and that's what they had been throwing me before, and that's how they were pitching me the whole game today."

If this were a movie, a critic would look at the plot and say that it was contrived, and that the hero prevails so many times in pressure-filled situations that it is unrealistic and unoriginal. However, Ortiz has proven to be a true original in Boston and a hero to Red Sox Nation.

"It's semi-cartoonish. We're all trying to figure out what his mind-set is, so we can duplicate it," outfielder Gabe Kapler said. "It's similar to how [Barry] Bonds was a couple years ago. His presence at the plate late in the game is unreal."

"You run out of adjectives with him," Loretta said.

"It's almost unfair. You feel so confident in his ability to do those types of things," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said about his expectations of Ortiz late in games.

When a team goes on an eight-game winning streak, usually, everything is going right. When that team goes scoreless for the first five innings, loses a six-run lead, has one of the game's best young closers relinquish his second save of the season in the ninth, falls behind in the 12th using the last pitcher in their bullpen, goes down to its last out and then wins in that inning, that's just the icing on the cake.

After Jimmy Rollins doubled in the go-ahead run for the Phils in the top half of the 12th, Coco Crisp led off Boston's half with a ground-rule double. With two outs, Kevin Youkilis singled Crisp in on a line drive to left which eluded the outstretched arm of a leaping Rollins. A walk to Loretta set the stage for Big Papi.

"In the last inning, Youk[ilis] keeping the game going with a nice at-bat, guys swinging at strikes, letting David hit with really nowhere to put him. Our guys did a really good job," Francona said.

The Red Sox were leading, 6-5, in the ninth inning when the usually reliable Jonathan Papelbon gave up a home run to Chase Utley that hit off the Pesky Pole in right field, tying the game and sending it to extra innings.

"I'm still not sure how [Utley] kept that fair," Francona said. "He kept his hands inside of that bat so well."

For the first five innings, it looked like the Red Sox had reverted to their "Tim Wakefield offense." After scoring 51 runs over their last six games, the Red Sox were resembling the team that had given Wakefield only 4.3 runs a game this season.

However, for Wakefield's second straight start, the offense came through, scoring six runs in the sixth, including six straight hits, and seven total in the inning, which set a season-high for an inning.

For the Phils, Cory Lidle was magnificent through five innings, evoking memories of an old-school pitchers' duel with Wakefield where zeros dominated the scoreboard through the first five frames.

However, the sixth started with a walk to Ortiz, a single by Manny Ramirez and a single by Mike Lowell that scored Ortiz for the first run. Crisp followed with a ground-rule double, and Doug Mirabelli and Alex Gonzalez continued the hot-hitting with RBI singles. Lidle allowed four runs before being removed.

Wakefield, who was to host a charity golf event on Monday, but was prevented by Sunday's rainout, allowed three runs and five hits over six innings in the no-decision.

"I'm disappointed in my outing, because I got them back in the game," Wakefield said. "I'm not supposed to do that when the offense scores six runs in the bottom of the inning."

The Phillies demonstrated their flair for the dramatic in the seventh by producing five runs of their own, starting with a Chris Coste single off Rudy Seanez that scored two runs. Coste had three hits, matching his career hit total coming into the game.

Rollins added three of his four RBIs on the day on a triple before Mike Timlin came in with two men on to strike out pinch-hitter Pat Burrell and get the Sox out of the inning with the temporary lead.

Papelbon came on and allowed the homer to Utley, snapping his consecutive scoreless innings pitched streak at 21 2/3.

Pitching in the 12th, rookie Craig Hansen got his first career win.

Boston extended its errorless streak to a team-record 13 straight games.

With the victory, Red Sox manager Terry Francona, the only Red Sox manager to win a World Series in the last 86 years, went over .500 in his managerial career for the first time (523-522).

The win gave the Sox their third straight sweep over a National League East team. It was their first time sweeping three consecutive teams since July 15-24, 1988, against the Royals, Twins and White Sox.

Howard Kussoy is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.