BOSTON (AP) -- David Ortiz rediscovered his clutch hitting in the
same spot he left it: Where the Red Sox needed it the most.
With Boston down to its last strike, Ortiz hit a three-run homer
to lift the Red Sox to a 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers in the
opener of a split-admission doubleheader on Sunday. It's his first
game-ending homer of the year, but the sixth in the regular season
for his career.
"We've got a long way to go this season," said Ortiz, who also
had two walk-off homers and a game-ending single in the 2004
postseason, when the Red Sox won the World Series to end an 86-year
title drought. "The sooner I can get it back, the better."
Ortiz fell behind 0-2 before working the count to 2-2, fouling
another one off and then hitting a line drive over the Red Sox
bullpen to end the game.
"I jumped over the fence and fell on my face, but it was pretty
cool," said reliever Manny Delcarmen, who earned his first major
league win thanks to Ortiz. "I've been close a couple times to
getting my first win, and when he hit that I was like 'Oh man."
Delcarmen (1-0) pitched two innings and allowed two hits, one
walk and striking out one. Otsuka (2-2) gave up three runs on two
hits while retiring two batters.
Rangers manager Buck Showalter said Otsuka's problem was in
allowing Ortiz to get to bat in the ninth.
"It seems like he always comes through," Texas starter Kevin
Millwood said. "You've got to make nearly perfect pitches to get
Red Sox fans, who have suffered through rainouts and rain delays
all weekend, cheered until Ortiz came back out for a TV interview.
Then the crowd made for the exits so the ballpark could be readied
for the second game.
The opener was the makeup of Saturday night's game, which was
postponed when the early game that day started 4 hours, 47 minutes
late due to rain. Texas won 7-4 in Saturday's game, which itself
was a makeup for a May 13 rainout.
Sunday was cool but only partly cloudy and the Boston area was
relieved from the rain that had drenched the city for much of the
past six weeks. The Red Sox have had four games postponed because
of rain, already matching last year's total; three of them have
been against Texas.
Kevin Mench homered to break a sixth-inning tie and chase Josh
Beckett, and Millwood pitched six solid innings. It was 2-2 when
Beckett walked Brad Wilkerson and Mench followed with his 11th
homer of the year.
The Rangers haven't won consecutive games at Fenway Park since
Texas took the lead in the first when Michael Young hit a
grounder to the shortstop and first baseman Kevin Youkilis dropped
the throw. Young moved to second on Hank Blalock's walk and scored
on Mark DeRosa's double to left.
Manny Ramirez homered to lead off the second -- the 451st of his
career, tying him with Jim Thome for 30th on the all-time list.
Alex Gonzalez singled and scored on Ortiz's base hit in the third
to give Boston a 2-1 lead.
The Rangers tied it on a disputed play when Ian Kinsler lined
the ball down the left-field line, almost hitting third-base umpire
The umpire jumped to get out of the way and couldn't have seen
the ball hit an inch or two fair. But he signaled a foul ball
before turning, seeing home plate umpire Jim Joyce pointing fair,
and then changing his mind.
That allowed Rod Barajas to score, and Red Sox manager Terry
Francona was out of the dugout even before the runner crossed the
plate. His argument was unsuccessful.
The Red Sox gave away 8,000 free hot dogs on Saturday night
to fans who waited out the long rain delay. ... The Rangers scored
in the first inning for the second consecutive night after going a
major league-leading 14 games without a first-inning run. ... Young
went a 32nd consecutive game without an error, a Rangers record for
shortstops. ... Millwood allowed two runs and seven hits, two walks
and a wild pitch, striking out five in his bid to improve to 6-0 on
the road. Beckett gave up three earned runs on five hits and three
walks, striking out seven in 5 1-3 innings but avoided his third