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The Grand Slam: David Ortiz’s late three-run homer gives Red Sox series win

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

TheGrandSlam1

The Boston Red Sox needed a big hit late in Wednesday's 4-2 win over the Texas Rangers, and once again it was "Big Papi" David Ortiz who came through, delivering a towering three-run homer that barely wrapped around Pesky's Pole at Fenway Park. In fact, it was close enough to necessitate a review, and it also led to the slowest home run trot tracked by the Tater Trot Tracker on Twitter.

No sense wasting energy if it hooked foul, was probably Ortiz's mindset.

The big fly came a half inning after Texas took a one-run lead on Alex Rios' sacrifice fly. Manager Ron Washington brought in one of Ortiz's biggest nemesis — small sample size and all — in left-hander Neal Cotts to prevent what happened from happening. Coming into Wednesday's showdown, Cott had struck Ortiz out five times in six plate appearances. The other was a walk.

Give round seven to Ortiz, and give Boston a series victory.

TENSIONS RISE IN MINNESOTA: The benches emptied in Minnesota but no punches were thrown after A's third baseman Josh Donaldson and Twins closer Glen Perkins exchanged words in tenth inning. Perkins actually struck out Donaldson to end the inning, but it's reported his anger stemmed from Donaldson admiring a long foul ball a little too long earlier in the at-bat. Donaldson disagreed, and explained why in a much calmer fashion following the game.

''I don't feel like I disrespected him at all. I'm up there trying to win a game for our team, and he's trying to win a game for his team. Juices are flowing,'' Donaldson said.

Oakland would go on to win the game 7-4 on Derek Norris' three-run homer in the 11th. Of greatest concern to Oakland is the fact closer Jim Johnson's ERA ballooned to 18.90 through his first five appearance of the season. He was on the verge of his second blown save and his third loss before being pulled in the ninth inning in favor of Dan Otero.

TIGERS SURVIVE LATE DODGERS RALLY: The A's aren't alone in their concern over their closing situation. The Detroit Tigers, who signed Joe Nathan to a two-year, $20 million deal on Dec. 4, could be searching for answers as well after the veteran allowed three ninth inning runs to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It's the third consecutive appearance — including two blown saves — that Nathan has allowed a run. And to show the inconsistency of Detroit's 'pen as a whole, it's the sixth consecutive game they've allowed a run in the ninth inning or later. Not good, but Detroit was were able to overcome it Wednesday and pull out a 7-6 win in 10 innings thanks to Victor Martinez's solo homer off Kenley Jansen.

ERVIN SANTANA STRONG IN BRAVES DEBUT: A little behind schedule after signing a one-year, $14.1 million deal on March 12, Ervin Santana came out of the gates firing strikes in his Braves debut on Wednesday. In fact, Santana's first 20 pitches all pierced the strike zone, and by the end of the third inning his ratio was an astonishing 28-1. Santana ended up working eight scoreless frames on three hits and no walks. He also fanned six as the Braves held on for a 4-3 win despite an unusually shaky ninth inning from Craig Kimbrel.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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