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Slugger had grand old time

Ortiz's power back in big way

Two runs already were on the board and three men were on base. Jered Weaver hadn't retired a batter in the fifth inning when David Ortiz stepped to the plate.

There was no place to put Big Papi and no comfortable place to throw a pitch. Weaver went for a first-pitch strike down Broadway and Ortiz launched a NASA rocket high and far into the right-field grandstand.

Grand slam. The Angels' 5-0 lead was wiped out and the Red Sox were on their way to a 10-5 victory against a team they might see again in October.

There wasn't much doubt about this Ortiz moonshot and Papi made no attempt to feign drama. He stood and admired his work as if he was looking at an El Greco at the Museum of Fine Arts.

"I don't measure my home runs, but that was a pretty good one," he said.

Weaver was not amused, and stared at Ortiz as he rounded the bases. The righthander was still staring when the home plate umpire attempted to toss him a new baseball.

"Just round the bases," Weaver told reporters after the game. "I'll remember it next time we play them, that's for sure. I'm not saying anything is going to happen, but it's definitely in the back of your mind."

When Ortiz was asked about Weaver's stare, he said, "I don't care about that. That's something I don't pay attention to."

Terry Francona was pretty happy with the blast.

"That was well-struck and the timing wasn't bad either," said the Sox manager. "We did some real good things to get to David, and that one swing changed the complexion of the game."

It gave Curt Schilling (eight hits, five runs, and many hard outs in six innings) his first win since his near no-hitter June 7. It also kept the Sox five games ahead of the charging Yankees and ensured at least a split of this four-game set with the Angels.

Papi loves hitting against these guys. You may remember his walkoff shot to the opposite field at Fenway that put an end to the American League Division Series in 2004.

Seeing the Angels just makes him happy. Ortiz had only five hits in his previous 33 at-bats when Los Angeles came to town Friday. In three games over two days he is 5 for 12 with two homers, eight RBIs, and five runs. The shoulder and the knee no doubt are still giving him trouble, but he's had a healthy diet of Angels pitching this weekend. The grand slam was the seventh of Ortiz's career, his first in a little more than a year.

"It's the kind of situation where sometimes you might see one pitch or sometimes you might not see any pitches," said the slugger. "I know they're trying to throw a pitch for a strike and get ahead. When you have the bases loaded, you don't want to walk the guy."

It's no secret that Ortiz's power numbers are way down this season. He's talked about the sea breeze and even wonders if the baseballs are different. But injuries are the logical explanation for the power shortage.

"I'm just trying to hang tight and try to help the ball club," said Ortiz. "I don't think it's fair to shut down. Things just get worse if I'm out of the lineup."

He'll be there in October. Maybe against Weaver again.

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