Ortiz gets even with Beltran, passes Babe

BOSTON -- As a veteran of several Octobers, David Ortiz doesn't sweat the small stuff. So when he had what would have been his second grand slam of this postseason taken away on a great catch by St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran in the second inning Wednesday night, he knew what he had to do.

"Just make sure I hit it a little farther," Ortiz deadpanned hours later after getting revenge by hammering a two-run shot that helped the Red Sox cap an 8-1 victory over the Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series.

The blast was the 16th of Ortiz's postseason career, which, coincidentally, tied him with Beltran and moved him past Babe Ruth on the all-time list. Four of those blasts have come this October and all of them have been at home, providing a showman with the perfect stage for his latest display of playoff power.

Ortiz's most notable home run this postseason was the first-pitch, game-tying grand slam off Detroit Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. His shot just over the Boston bullpen on Wednesday might have been his most impressive.

The Sox were ahead 5-0 but had not scored since the second inning before Dustin Pedroia reached on an error with two outs in the seventh. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny summoned Kevin Siegrist, a hard-throwing rookie who limited left-handed hitters to a .118 average in a dominant campaign, to face Ortiz with the aim of giving the Cardinals a puncher's chance in the late innings.

Siegrist, a virtual unknown to Red Sox hitters, uncorked a first-pitch 96 mph fastball that Ortiz treated as if he had faced the southpaw dozens of times and was told what was coming. By the time the ball settled into the night, Boston had an insurmountable 7-0 advantage and Ortiz had once again amazed his teammates.

"I'm never surprised now, I should be. The guy just keeps impressing me every time he steps in the box," Red Sox catcher David Ross said. "First time he ever faced a lefty throwing 97 and he hits a home run. That guy's a good pitcher, we knew coming in.

"David Ortiz shows why we call him Cooperstown around here."

Ortiz has seen a grand total of six pitches in the four at-bats that have resulted in home runs during the 2013 playoffs, attacking like someone who knows how to handle October. The example he continues to set has been one of the catalysts of Boston's dominating nine-game winning streak in the World Series.

"David is the one that's linked everyone together," manager John Farrell said when asked about the run, which includes series sweeps in 2004 and 2007.

Ortiz has 10 RBIs in those nine games while batting .355.

When Mike Napoli ripped a three-run double in the bottom of the first inning of Game 1, it was punctuated by Ortiz's thunderous flop at home plate, the big boy completing a 270-foot romp from first base and providing a definitive sign that he was, to nobody's surprise, jumping into the series feet-first. His flirtation with one home run and completion of another only reinforced that notion.

Asked what it meant to pass Ruth on the postseason home-run list, Ortiz paused and considered a reply that only someone who takes October moments in stride can.

"God bless me," he said.

Again, no need to sweat the small stuff. Not when there's a World Series to win.