Up is down. Down is up. Man bites dog.
The Yankees got out David Ortiz in a big spot.
In his last visit to Yankee Stadium, the retiring Big Papi went 0-for-5 and left seven runners on base, including the final two, as he struck out against Tyler Clippard for the last out of the Yankees’ 6-4 victory over the Red Sox.
Clippard floated an 82-mile per hour pitch past a swinging Ortiz on 3-and-2 as the Yankees, for a rare moment, got the best of one of the chief tormentors in their entire history.
Ortiz, who will be honored by the Yankees with a ceremony before Thursday’s game, is a career .305 hitter with 53 home runs and 171 RBIs against them in the regular season.
And he demolished the Yankees as the MVP in the 2004 ALCS.
Ortiz once jokingly said Yankees fans should give him a standing ovation when he retires. He got one Tuesday night, as both Yankees and Red Sox rooters in the crowd of 35,161 were on their feet for the thrilling final at-bat.
“What are the chances that he comes up in that situation?” manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s just kind of the way fate had it.”
Before the game, general manager Brian Cashman said: “He’s been someone that we’ve never figured out. He certainly likes hitting against us . . . He’s someone we’ve never been able to figure a way to send back to that dugout four times a day consistently without him hurting us.”
The Yankees figured out Ortiz Tuesday night.
Rookie Luis Cessa struck him out on a 3-and-2 slider with the Yankees holding a 3-1 lead and the tying runs in scoring position in the sixth inning. And Blake Parker got an inning-ending grounder to short with two on and the score tied at 4 in the seventh.
“They got me out,” Ortiz said. “They tricked me tonight. I’ll trick them tomorrow.”
Overall this year, Ortiz is batting .318 with 37 home runs and 124 RBIs.
“It’s incredible,” Girardi said. “You often wonder why he’s retiring.”
Explained Ortiz: “I’ve got to fight every day to get ready to play a game. My body is so happy . . . my body is counting the days.”
Thursday’s ceremony should be interesting. Will the fans cheer or boo?
If Tuesday night’s early crowd was any indication, the stands will be half-empty when the ceremony occurs and many of the early arrivers will be Red Sox fans. Ortiz drew more cheers than boos when he stepped to the plate in the first inning and hit a harmless fly ball to center.
As the crowd grew in his later at-bats, so did the boos. But remember, the ceremony will be held before many have settled into their seats.
Still, some people care deeply, perhaps a little too deeply. Someone has started an online movement for Yankees fans to “moon” Ortiz on Thursday.
Not a good idea. Judging by the number of fans who will likely be there at that time, it wouldn’t be a full moon, anyway.
Ortiz, in a column in Derek Jeter’s The Players’ Tribune, mentioned that possibility. But he did not turn the other cheek.
“Let me tell you something,” Ortiz wrote. “If 50,000 people moon me, I promise you two things. First, I’m gonna laugh so hard I might start crying. Then when the tears dry, I’m gonna step up to the plate and try to hit the ball all the way to the choo choo train.”
The 40-year-old’s column was entitled “Thanks for the Memories, New York.”
Tuesday night wasn’t one of them. But there are two games left in the series and something tells us Big Papi’s not done with the Big Apple just yet.
Most regular-season home runs against the Yankees:
Jimmie Foxx 70
Ted Williams 62
Manny Ramirez 55
David Ortiz 53
Hank Greenberg 53