BOSTON (CBS) – Even at 37-year-old, David Ortiz is still getting it done in the clutch.
The Red Sox DH wrote another chapter in his storied career of postseason success on Sunday night, launching a game-tying grand slam off of Detroit Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit in the eighth inning to help Boston rally a 6-5 win, knotting the ALCS up at a game apiece.
“That just adds to his résumé of awesomeness,” left fielder Jonny Gomes said in the Boston locker room after the win.
But Gomes wasn’t the only one in awe of Ortiz’s knack for coming through in the clutch.
“It’s incredible. On the bench there is nobody really surprised when he does something like he does. It’s unbelievable,” said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who won it for Boston with an RBI single in the ninth inning. “You watch it on TV all those year, growing up watching it, and then seeing that ball go out from the bench, him rounding the bases — it’s like any other day (for him). He gets excited but you can’t tell if he’s any different. He’s the same every day.
“I felt something good was going to happen. I think everyone knew something good was going to happen,” added Salty. “He stayed on it and just drove it to center.”
THE WALKOFF: Ortiz The Hero Of Game 2 After 8th Inning Slam
The blast was Ortiz’s first postseason grand slam, but his franchise-leading 15th playoff homer. He’s up to three home runs this postseason, matching his total from 2007 — the last time the Red Sox won the World Series. The only time Ortiz left the yard more times during the playoffs was back in 2004, when he hit five homers en route to Boston’s first title in 86 years. Ortiz won MVP of the ALCS that season, hitting three homers and driving in 11 as the Red Sox pulled off a historic comeback against the New York Yankees.
Now in 2013, after a three-year absence from the postseason, Ortiz is back to his old tricks.
“That’s what he does,” said third baseman Will Middlebrooks. “For years I grew up watching him do it. It’s pretty amazing to be a part of one of them.”
Ortiz said after the game he was trying to do much in his at-bats prior to the slam. The dominant pitching by Detroit starters Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer had him “doing funny things” at the plate, and he just wanted to out some good lumber on the ball.
“If I tell you I went up trying to hit a grand slam I’d be lying to you guys,” Ortiz said following the win. “I was just trying to put a good swing on the ball.”
Listen: WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Game 2 Montage
“He takes every at-bat serious. Up to that point he was quiet; to me that guy is never quiet,” said right fielder Shane Victornio. “He has a knack for heroics and it’s fun to watch.”
“Never count him out. If he’s 0-for-3 or 3-for-3, he’s going to come up and keep plugging along,” said Victorino. “It’s great to see. He’s always upbeat and he’s always positive. As frustration as it gets at times for all of us and for him, he’s always positive and lways wants to swing the bat. That’s what he gets paid to do.”
“He definitely carried us again,” added Victorino.
Now the question is what will Ortiz do for an encore? Boston has a tough task in Game 3 on Tuesday with a matchup against Detroit’s Justin Verlander, but momentum is back on their side thanks to one bat they know they can always count on.
“He’s always amazing us. He’s 37-years-old and look what he’s doing,” said Middlebrooks. “He’s carrying a team and completely changed momentum of the series with one swing of the bat.”
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