MINNEAPOLIS -- Human sacrifice, of course, is politically incorrect. Vestial virgins are no longer in vogue. There being lots of Swedes in Minnesota, offerings of lutefisk and lindenberries may loom as a possibility. Better yet, maybe the Minnesota Twins should just swallow whatever remaining pride they have, dig up the statue of owner Carl Pohlad and his wife Eloise that graces the entrance of Target Field, the couple’s pride and joy, and draw up plans for the David Ortiz replacement model.
This ballpark may be the Pohlads’s baby, but it’s Big Papi’s playground, and on every successive visit he reminds the Twins that there is no appeasing him for the colossal miscalculation of ever letting him turn in his Minnesota membership card.
Ortiz hit two more tape-measure home runs and a double Wednesday night, to go along with the two home runs and two run-scoring singles he hit Tuesday, to go along with the torrid hitting displays he puts on every time he steps into the joint, which should include a return engagement exactly two months from Wednesday, when the Twins play host to the 85th All-Star Game.
The result: The Red Sox, with Ortiz hitting two home runs into the second deck in right-center field (ESPN Stats and Info said the first one at its apex reached a height of 138 feet, or about 10 stories) smacked the Twins by a score of 9-2, erasing the sting of a walk-off loss the night before. The home fans erupted in sarcastic cheers when Ortiz struck out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, but by then he already had seven notches in his belt in the span of two nights.
La Venganza: The revenge angle, of course, doesn’t really pass the smell test. Twelve years have passed since the Twins non-tendered Ortiz, who has claimed three World Series titles in Boston since then, so as slights go, Big Papi would seem to have little reason to nurse a grudge this long. Truth be told, on the list of things that motivate Ortiz, any ill will he may still harbor toward the Twins ranks far behind: 1. winning, 2. contract extensions, 3. contract extensions.
Still, the damage Ortiz inflicts on his former team has reached Heisenberg proportions -- no one is spared. In 13 career games in Target Field, Ortiz has nine home runs and 23 RBIs, while batting .528 (28-for-53). Since departing Minnesota after the 2002 season, Ortiz is batting .350 (75-for-214) against the Twins, with 18 doubles, 19 home runs, 50 RBIs and 34 walks. His on-base percentage (.440 range) is the highest by any Twins opponent in that span.
The roll call: Ortiz became the first Sox player to hit back-to-back home runs in successive games since ... David Ortiz, who did so July 4-5, 2003, against the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium. The two home runs gave him sole possession of third place on the all-time Sox list, breaking a tie with Jim Rice and giving him 384, behind only Ted Williams (521) and Carl Yastrzemski (452). He now has 442 career home runs, tying King Kong Kingman (given name Dave) for 39th place on the all-time list.
Other guys did play: Felix Doubront went 6 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and a run, for his second win of the season. Mike Napoli doubled and scored; he has reached base in 33 consecutive games, longest active streak in the majors. Rookie Xander Bogaerts reached base three times with a double, single and walk, as did Grady Sizemore (RBI double, RBI single, walk), while A.J. Pierzynski knocked in a pair with a ninth-inning double. Trevor Plouffe of the Twins hit a two-run home run off Edward Mujica in the ninth.
For the record: The Twins elected to non-tender Ortiz on Dec. 16, 2002, to make room for a Rule 5 infielder named Jose Morban. Morban never played an inning for the Twins. He appeared in 61 games for the Orioles in 2003 and hit two home runs. That was the sum of his big-league career.