BOSTON (CBS) – David Ortiz had the first multi-homer game of his incredible playoff career Saturday night, launching two solo blasts in Boston’s 7-4 win over the Rays.
Tampa starter David Price wasn’t really a fan of Ortiz’s show, which is to be expected. He had to watch a solo shot in the first give Boston an early 2-0 lead, and then Ortiz’s second put his team back down by three runs in the eighth.
The fate of Price’s Rays was dim to begin with down 6-4 with Koji Uehara warming in the Boston pen, the landing spot of Ortiz’s first homer, but that second blast all but sealed Tampa’s fate.
It was one of those high-flying Fenway homers that takes just a few extra seconds to see if it stays fair or hooks foul as it towers high over Pesky’s pole. As Ortiz does on 99.9-percent of his home runs, he stood in the batter’s box that extra second or two (etc), either making sure it was fair, admiring the 14th postseason dinger of his career, or most likely, both.
David Price had a unique view of the home run from the mound, and it didn’t take him as long to see where it was going. After the game, he was a little upset about those extra seconds.
“As soon as I saw it I knew it was fair,” Price said before offering some advice for Ortiz. “Run.”
It’s no surprise Price was upset. He entered Fenway the best left-handed pitcher in park’s history, and left it with his team down 2-0 in a best-of-five series. The Red Sox tagged him for seven runs over seven-plus innings, dropping Price to 1-3 in the postseason.
There is no denying Ortiz admires his work, and catcher David Ross and others said Papi was predicting a big game in the Boston locker room prior to the win. Ross wouldn’t say what Ortiz told everyone, but he said the big man lived up to what he was selling.
Ortiz was due for a big game against Price, who he hadn’t taken deep in 37 career at-bats. After the win he spoke highly of the 28-year-old, pointing out his dominating two-run, complete-game against Texas five days ago to earn a spot in the Wild Card game.
“I got a lot of respect for Price,” Ortiz said, noting the Tampa ace didn’t have his best stuff on Saturday. “I was talking to him the other day at the gym. I was congratulating him because I watched the whole game the guy pitched in Texas and that was unbelievable. This guy is special.”
Ortiz was surprised to hear that Price was upset, and defended himself by saying it wasn’t easy to see if the ball would stay fair or hook foul. An upset Price predicted Ortiz would say that, but also admitting he flat out got beat but a good team.
“Honestly, I thought I was pretty good but that team just beat me,” he said. “That’s a very good team and I’ve said that for quite a while.”
The Rays now head back to St. Pete facing an 0-2 hole to a team that just tagged their two best started for 14 earned runs. The Boston offense is clicking and Ortiz is once again in a playoff groove.
But the Red Sox DH knows a thing or two about those crazy things that can happen in the postseason.
“It’s not over,” he said. “We’ve got to keep on fighting. We know we’re playing against a good ball club. They always find a way to win games. You can’t take anything for granted.”
Tampa manager Joe Maddon confidently said after Saturday’s loss that he can’t wait to return to Boston for a deciding Game 5. Should the Rays get there Price will likely be called upon and get another shot at the Red Sox, back in Fenway Park.
But until then, he’ll have to sit and watch.
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