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 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 and one walk with one strikeout. 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 him out."
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 four hours and 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 1997.
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 Paul Schrieber.
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 consecutive loss.