BOSTON (AP) David Ortiz became one of the most celebrated players in Red Sox history during his storied 14-year run in Boston.
On the night he returned to Fenway to have his No. 34 take its place among the franchise’s other legends, his former teammates did their part to make sure it was a memorable one.
Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon hit two-run homers and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 on Friday to cap a night in which Ortiz’s number became the latest retired at Fenway Park.
It was the 250th career home run for Ramirez, a good friend of Ortiz who was also born in the Dominican Republic. Leon finished with three hits and four RBIs.
Ramirez said he played with Ortiz on his mind.
”He’s my mentor, my big brother. He’s everything,” Ramirez said. ”Today when I saw him on the field crying, it made me cry.”
He said his home run was in Big Papi’s honor.
”Definitely, definitely, definitely,” he said. ”I was going to do his thing (pointing his hands in the air) but I forgot.”
The homers helped provide a nice cushion for Rick Porcello (4-9), who gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. It was the 13th straight start Porcello has gone at least six innings.
”It was vintage Porcello,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. ”A couple of pitches that cut his night short, but he was crisp throughout.”
This could serve as a needed confidence boost for Porcello, who had been 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs.
He had command of his pitches early, holding the Angels scoreless until the fourth, when a catching error by Leon at home allowed Albert Pujols to cross the plate.
Porcello said he isn’t sure if he has completely turned a corner yet after his slow start, but he has felt better in his recent starts.
”Today was a step in the right direction,” he said.
Alex Meyer (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Los Angeles scored three runs in the seventh, but cooled off after Porcello left.
Boston got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and then getting two more runs off wild pitches by Meyer.
Ramirez gave Porcello a 5-1 lead in the fourth with his two-run shot to right field.
Red Sox: INF Josh Rutledge was a pregame scratch with left hip soreness. Dustin Pedroia, who was only expected to play on an emergency basis, returned to the lineup a day earlier than expected after missing three straight games with a bruised back.
Meyer said he felt like the back-to-back walks he surrendered to the Red Sox first two hitters set a tone for his night.
”It’s unacceptable,” he said. ”You can’t go out there and put two guys on basically before the game starts.”
Manager Mike Scioscia said he thinks he was too amped up, but Meyer disagreed.
”I didn’t feel like my heart was ever racing,” he said.
But he said he must avoid get behind the leadoff hitter 3-0, like he did against Mookie Betts Friday.
”It’s really not acceptable you just have to be better than that,” he said.
Ortiz wiped away tears from his eyes as the Fenway crowd serenaded him with chants of ”Papi! Papi! Papi! during the pregame ceremony to retire his No. 34.
Pedroia addressed the Fenway crowd on behalf of Ortiz’s former teammates during the ceremony and said his impact stretched beyond their experiences together on the baseball field.
”You’re not a friend, you’re not a teammate, you’re our family,” Pedroia said.
Angels: RHP JC Ramirez will be making his 14th start of the season and seventh on the road in 2017. He made four relief appearances last season against Boston. He’s tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in two career games at Fenway.
Red Sox: LHP David Price held the Angels to eight scoreless innings the last time he faced them in late July last season. He is 5-5 with a 3.26 ERA over 13 career starts against Los Angeles.
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