No big hits left for Big Papi as Red Sox swept from playoffs
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 12, 2016 12:18 PM
Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz waves from the field at Fenway Park after Game 3 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, in Boston. The Indians won 4-3 to sweep the Red Sox in the series. Ortiz said he will retire at the end of the season. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
KYLE HIGHTOWER, AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) — David Ortiz didn't want it to end.
With his team trailing the Cleveland Indians by two runs in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, Boston's biggest star trotted to first base after an eighth-inning walk Monday night and turned toward the Red Sox fans who had cheered him through so many memorable baseball moments for 14 seasons.
Raising his hands high above his head, he tried to clap the Fenway Park crowd into a frenzy one more time.
It wasn't to be.
After providing so many huge hits for the franchise, winning three World Series championships and becoming a beloved figure in Boston, it was time for Big Papi's story to end.
That four-pitch walk turned out to be the final plate appearance of his storied, 20-year major league career. He was soon replaced by a pinch runner and left to a standing ovation. But he could only watch from the dugout in a red pullover when Travis Shaw hit a game-ending flyout an inning later as the Red Sox were swept out of the playoffs with a 4-3 loss.
After the final out, the crowd of 39,530 — the largest at Fenway since at least World War II — chanted "We're not leaving!" and "Thank you, Pa-pi!" for more than 10 minutes, drawing Ortiz back onto the field.
The 40-year-old slugger strolled out to the mound to cheers and tipped his cap in all directions, tapping his heart and eventually wiping tears from his eyes as a year's worth of emotions flowed through him.
"I went through like three different times where emotions popped. But they're different," Ortiz said.
His initial thoughts were about the loss of his friend and Miami Marlins star Jose Fernandez, killed in a boating accident last month. It wasn't until later that Ortiz thought about his own career.
"Tonight when I walked to the mound, I realized that it was over," he said. "Even if things didn't end up the way we were looking for, I believe that in baseball, especially in the baseball game that we play in today's day, it's a big step because it's like going from bad to good, from day to night."
After a career that included a 2013 World Series MVP award and 10 All-Star appearances, Ortiz had two chances Monday to deliver another one of his characteristic clutch postseason hits.
In the sixth inning against reliever Andrew Miller, the designated hitter came to the plate with one out and runners on second and third, but could only muster a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Dustin Pedroia and pulled Boston to 4-2.
That was still the score in the eighth when Ortiz came up with two outs and Mookie Betts on first base.
Ortiz walked on four straight pitches before imploring the crowd to its feet.
He finished his final game 0 for 1 with two walks and an RBI. But he was just 1 for 9 in the series.
"I'm glad he didn't get a hit to beat us," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "I thought it was an honor to be on the field for his last game. He's truly one of the best and you could tell the way people were hanging around yelling his name. He deserves every bit of that."
Ortiz had no regrets about how his career ended.
"The game, the game I love, the game that made me who I am," he said. "The game that I look forward to (getting) better every day is something that I'm definitely going to carry for the rest of my life. And those moments, they're always going to be special. They're always going to stay with you."
Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower