The stat that Ortiz, 2-for-4 with two RBIs on Thursday, was referring to was one that pointed out the Yankees had never hit him with a pitch since he joined the Red Sox in 2003. That changed in the fourth inning on Thursday.
Ortiz's bat flip after a home run in Tuesday's series opener didn't sit well with Yankees manager Joe Girardi, and the fact that New York did not retaliate after Boston starter Jon Lester hit two opposing batters in that game was widely reported.
On Friday, Josh Beckett caught three more Yankees with pitches, and they weren't just any Yankees. He hit Derek Jeter around the left elbow two pitches into the game and caught Alex Rodriguez on the left hip in the third inning. The first plunking led to the Yankees' first two runs, on a Curtis Granderson homer, and the latter loaded the bases.
Whether Beckett's plunkings were intentional or not, the situation was begging for retaliation, and Sabathia delivered it with a first-pitch 97-mph fastball with one out and one on in the fourth. Home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt immediately issued a warning, and Ortiz smirked as he walked down to first base.
"I threw a two-seamer, and it kind of got away," Sabathia said.
Beckett said he talked with Wendelstedt before and after the warning and said he tried to explain he wasn't trying to hit anyone and that the mound was difficult to get footing on after a rain delay of three hours and 27 minutes. Beckett hit one more Yankee -- Granderson -- with a curveball on the back foot in the fifth inning, and Granderson didn't move. There were no ejections.
"Hunter and I had that talk, and he told me he wasn't going to take the inside plate away from either one of us," Beckett said. "It is what it is. I thought they handled it well. I'm still trying to figure out if David got hit for something I did, or if it's something [the media] stirred up."
"We had four or five guys hit this series, and I think they had one," Girardi said. "Curtis got hit with a curveball, and I understand you're not going to throw someone out when you hit them with a curveball; that's the bottom line. But no one wants to see their guys get hit because you risk injury."
Ortiz started and finished a go-ahead rally against Sabathia in the seventh, singling to start the frame and doubling to plate the last two runs.
When Ortiz reached second base, he clapped several times and made a downward swatting gesture.
Girardi said he didn't have an issue with how Ortiz arrived at the bag.
"I think people are making a big deal out of this," Girardi said. "All along, I said I respect David Ortiz and what he's done for the game. I was shocked with what he did when he hit the home run. When you say things like that here, it's going to kind of take on a life of its own, and when you're playing Boston. But no, I mean, he's somewhat of an emotional guy. He's excited. He got a big hit."
Ortiz, perhaps playing with the media or perhaps serious, did not take questions.
"You guys like to criticize us when we [fail]; criticize yourself now," Ortiz said.
One reporter tried to ask Ortiz where the pitch got him, and the DH was short.
"I don't [care]," Ortiz said. "I already got hit. Don't matter. Too late. I'm not talking no more. Have a good night."
-- Evan Drellich