Tigers right field Torii Hunter makes a gallant attempt to snare Red Sox batter David Ortiz's line drive that turned into a grand slam in the eighth inning Sunday. The blast tied the score, 5-5, as the Red Sox went on to win 6-5. (Al Bello / Getty Images)
Boston — He gave the chase everything he had — and almost caught the ball.
That’s all Torii Hunter could do before disappearing over the wall Sunday night, however. He could only make it close.
The hit that gave the Boston Red their biggest jolt of life in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park was David Ortiz’s tying, two-out grand slam off Joaquin Benoit in the bottom of the eighth.
Until then, the Tigers’ pitching had dominated.
Not only that, but the Red Sox had felt dominated — not knowing when, or even if, it was going to turn for them.
They eventually won the game, 6-5, on Jarrod Saltamacchia’s single off Rick Porcello in the ninth, but the slam was the hit that made it all possible. Hunter went over the fence going for it, though. It was one heck of a try.
“I thought I had a bead on it,” he said. “Next thing you know, I was falling over the fence. So I don’t know what really happened.”
What happened is it looked like Hunter took a terrible spill — one which prompted trainer Kevin Rand and manager Jim Leyland to head for right field to check up on him.
“I’m all right,” Hunter said. “I just tried to give it an effort and ended up flipping over. It was all or nothing.”
Hunter said he was going “full speed” and “kind of landed awkward” — briefly knocking the wind out of him. But he was more upset than injured.
“The one guy you don’t want to beat you beat us,” he said. “One of the best hitters in postseason history, and this guy hits the ball out of the park, ties the game, and they end up coming back and winning.”
His teammates applauded his effort, though.
“We had one of the greatest outfielders out there in Torii,” said Victor Martinez, “and you always hope. Actually, he came really close to catching it.”
Before he vanished from view.