BOSTON (AP) – David Ortiz is climbing the charts to history, and the rest of the Boston Red Sox are locked into watching every swing.
Ortiz hit his 496th career home run, reaching 30 in a season for a team-record ninth time as the Red Sox beat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-2 Saturday.
"You know we're all engaged every time he comes to the plate," Boston's interim manager Torey Lovullo said. "It's an exciting time for every one of us. No matter what we try to say, downplay it, he's reaching a special milestone and it's an exciting time for all. He's a great leader and a great friend to everybody on this team."
The 39-year-old Ortiz surpassed Hall of Famer Ted Williams' eight 30-homer seasons with the Red Sox. Big Papi set the mark with a drive that hooked around the Pesky Pole, capping an eight-run fourth inning.
He's four away from becoming the 27th player in major league history with 500 homers. The slugger left the park without talking to the media.
"Absolutely," winning pitcher Wade Miley said when asked if players are paying more attention to each swing. "Even from his first at-bat this year, because he's Big Papi and what he's done in his career."
Xander Bogaerts hit a three-run double during Boston's big burst and came around to score on an error.
Miley (11-10) allowed five hits in posting his first career complete game. He retired the first 12 batters in his 130th career start.
"I was going to go back out there," Miley said. "I was going to go in the tunnel before they could tell me I wasn't going to go back out."
Jackie Bradley Jr. added a two-run double in Boston's big fourth. Bogaerts finished with four RBIs.
The Red Sox beat the Phillies for the second straight day, capturing the three-game series. They're 11-1-2 in their last 14 series against Philadelphia.
"That's the best I've seen him," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said of Miley. "He pitched extremely well. Nine innings, worked fast, changed speeds, used both sides of the plate, kept the ball down. He did a great job."
Carlos Ruiz had a two-run single for the Phillies, who lost for the ninth time in 12 games.
Alec Asher (0-2) was tagged for seven runs on eight hits in 3 2-3 innings in his second major league start.
"Yeah, maybe I was a little bit," Asher said when asked if he was overexcited.
"This is a neat park, and still only being my second start, there were maybe still a little emotions. But just try and work past it the best you can."
Blake Swihart's RBI single pushed Boston ahead 1-0 in the fourth, and then Bradley and Bogaerts hit their doubles. Bogaerts' turned into a Little League home run, as he advanced to third on a throw home and then scored when the ball bounced away, diving in and shifting hands to touch the plate before catcher Ruiz's tag. Second baseman Cesar Hernandez was charged with an error.
Ortiz homered off reliever Jerome Williams, prompting three white numbers with red trim — attached to the stanchion on a light tower above the Green Monster — to be updated in his countdown for 500.