David Ortiz had the option of taking a day off. He quickly turned that offer down, responding to a text message from Boston interim manager Torey Lovullo Saturday morning by saying said he wanted to play.
Good choice, Big Papi.
Ortiz homered twice to become the 27th player in major league history to reach 500 homers, and the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 10-4 on Saturday night.
"In the history of the game, you don't see that many players getting to the 500 club, so I'm going to take a lot of pride on that," Ortiz said. "They starting mentioning your name, comparing your name to legends, it's something that I'm going to take very humble, I'll take as a compliment."
With an overflow crowd in the right-field stands on their feet and chanting "Let's go Papi!," Ortiz reached the milestone when he lined a shot to right-center on a 2-2 pitch from Matt Moore leading off the fifth. He connected for No. 499 in the first.
Big Papi has 50 multihomer games in a 19-year career. He joins Albert Pujols as the only players to hit both 499 and 500 in the same game.
Ortiz pumped his right arm as he ran toward first base. His teammates emptied the dugout and bullpen to celebrate the big hit with him.
"A spectacular day for him," Louvello said. "A well-deserved accomplishment. Everytime he comes up, we all (in the dugout) kind of sit forward because he can do anything at anytime. That moment was a little more extra special. He was locked it. We knew he was sitting on it. Everybody was very alert and really pulling for him."
Ortiz said the fan, who didn't want to be identified, gave him the memento. The Red Sox gave the young man wearing a Baltimore Orioles shirt what Ortiz called a very nice package of items including a Red Sox shirt.
"Forced him to switch (shirts)," Ortiz said with a smile. "He was very nice."
The designated hitter connected in the first on a 1-2 pitch from Moore, a towering three-run shot into the right field stands.
Ortiz has eight homers in his last 14 games, and 34 this season to became the fourth player to reach the milestone while playing for the Red Sox. He joins Jimmie Foxx (1940), Ted Williams (1960) and Manny Ramirez (2008), who also hit their 500th homer on the road.
Ortiz was lifted for a pinch-runner in the seventh after flaring a single to center for his third hit in four at-bats. He received a partial standing ovation from the announced crowd of 20,698 while returning to the dugout.
Moore (1-4) gave up eight runs and nine hits over five innings.
"You never want to be on that side of history," Moore said.
Rick Porcello (8-12) got the win after allowing three runs and five hits in seven innings.
Ortiz was not alone when it came to long balls for the Red Sox.
Boston took a 5-0 lead on consecutive third-inning solo shots by Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia. Betts had extended his career-high hitting streak to 17 games on an infield single in the first.
Pedroia drove in a pair with a fourth-inning double and Travis Shaw hit a two-run homer in the seventh.
John Jaso hit a two-run homer and Richie Shaffer had a solo shot for Tampa Bay.