TORONTO (AP)—David Ortiz wants to become the first designated hitter to win an MVP award.
“I’m just trying to break the rules,” Ortiz said. “As soon as they bring my name up they said. `Oh, he’s a DH. I don’t think he deserves it because he’s a DH.”’ That’s fine with me. I never saw anybody win the MVP because they won the Gold Glove and hit .230. You win the MVP because you help your ballclub, you win games whenever your team needs it and because you put up some numbers.”
Ortiz drove in three runs for the Red Sox, who remained 2 1/2 games ahead of the second-place New York Yankees in the AL East.
With the score 3-all, Bill Mueller singled with two outs and Ortiz homered off Josh Towers (11-11), the 17th time he has tied a game or put the Red Sox ahead. Eight of those have come in the seventh inning or later.
Ortiz homered for the third straight game and topped his previous high for homers, set last year. He has 38 as a designated hitter, one more than the major league record set by Seattle’s Edgar Martinez in 2000.
“This means a lot because Edgar was one of the best hitters I’ve ever seen,” Ortiz said.
Kapler reached on third baseman Corey Koskie’s throwing error in the fifth, and Graffanino followed with a homer to left that tied the score 3-3. Kapler then fell to the ground, got up on one knee but couldn’t continue.
“I just haven’t really had a chance to allow to sink in,” said Kapler, who wasn’t in pain after the game. “I’m sure there is going to come a time when reality is going to hit me and I’m going to know that it’s going to be a while before I help my teammates, and that’s going to be hard for me.”
After a five-minute delay, Kapler was carted off the field. Alejandro Machado pinch ran starting at second base and finished circling the bases.
Kapler will be evaluated in Boston on Thursday. Outfielder Adam Hyzdu will replace him.
“He’s tremendous. He’s a great 10th man off the bench,” David Wells said. “He comes to play every day. He’s like Charlie Hustle. The guy goes after it with no fear. To lose him is crushing. I’ve never in my 18 years seen a guy blow it out at second base on a home run.”
Boston already was missing center fielder Johnny Damon, who was in Boston receiving treatment for a sore left shoulder. Damon hopes to play in Thursday’s home game against Oakland.
“I’m really hoping Johnny Damon shows up and is really healthy,” Boston manager Terry Francona said.
Wells (13-7) won for the fourth time in five starts, allowing three runs and seven hits in seven innings. Mike Timlin pitched the ninth for his eighth save in 14 chances.
Ortiz hit an RBI grounder in the first, but Toronto took a 2-1 lead in the second when Shea Hillenbrand hit an RBI single and scored on Frank Menechino’s double. Hillenbrand hit a run-scoring double in the sixth for put the Blue Jays ahead 3-1.
Towers allowed five runs—three earned—and seven hits in eight innings. He doesn’t think Ortiz deserves to be MVP because Ortiz doesn’t usually play the field.
“They don’t go through the grind other guys go through defensively, diving after balls, chasing balls. If you make an error, it might affect you but if you’re a DH, you don’t go through any of that,” Towers said. “You just hit. As good a hitter as he is, and he’s one of the best, no question, I could never vote for a guy who doesn’t do play defense.”
Kapler hit .247 with one home run and nine RBIs this season. … Francona gave SS Edgar Renteria a day off. … 2B Orlando Hudson missed his sixth straight game because of a sprained left ankle. He is day to day.