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October 6, 2013

Ortiz, Red Sox all but finish off Rays

(Continued)

Price had a 2.48 ERA and minuscule 0.67 WHIP in five starts vs. Boston this regular season. But the Red Sox said, “The heck with that!”

Ortiz entered yesterday 8 for 37 (.216 batting average) with no homers and four RBIs against the lefty in his career.

But Papi absolutely obliterated to baseballs over the right field wall. One came in the first. Another came in the eighth. They combined to travel an estimated 786 feet.

This should come as little surprise. Ortiz now has 14 homers in 68 career postseason games.

“When he’s cooking, he’s very difficult,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said about Ortiz.

Red Sox starter John Lackey declared that Ortiz “likes the bright lights, for sure.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell added: “He’s probably surpassed our expectation of number of games played. He’s been so productive, which has been consistent with his entire career. It was always a matter of health. And the work he’s done to maintain the health. He’s the main cog in our lineup.”

It’s difficult not to feel good for Ortiz, a Dominican native who truly loves Boston and takes time to sign his name on something for every old lady or grade schooler who comes within his vicinity.

Sure, Ortiz has had his ugly moments like when he took smashed the phone in Baltimore with a bat. But he also is man whose spirit shines through in a truly personal and honest way.

Like when he picked up the microphone at Fenway before the first Red Sox home game following the Boston Marathon Bombings and declared “This is our (expletive) city” — a moment captured on live TV.

But it wasn’t just Ortiz yesterday. It was a signature 2013 Boston Red Sox victory mixed with relentless offense and extremely aggressive base running. We saw that aggressive style in the fifth when Jacoby Ellsbury scored from first base on a Dustin Pedroia double to the left field corner.

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