David Ortiz takes some cuts during practice at Comerica Park on Monday. (Paul Sancya / Associated Press)
Detroit -- Stars Justin Verlander and David Ortiz will go head-to-head with a lot on the line Tuesday afternoon at Comerica Park when the Tigers face the Red Sox in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.
Ortiz, a 37-year-old designated hitter, is still going strong, pulling the Red Sox even in the best-of-seven series Sunday night at Fenway Park with a grand slam off Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit in the eighth inning to spark a 6-5 comeback win.
Ortiz has been a clutch player for the Red Sox for the past decade, joining them in 2003 and then leading them to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.
Still, the grand slam had to be one of Ortiz's most memorable homers, especially since the Tigers had limited the Red Sox to 3-of-51 hitting, including 30 strikeouts, before that eighth inning.
Tigers center fielder Torii Hunter did everything he could to rob Ortiz of the grand slam, going head first over the fence in his effort.
Hunter has nothing but praise for Ortiz, his former teammate with the Twins.
"David Ortiz, you know we're good friends, but when we get on the field we play for blood and he knows that," said Hunter of Ortiz, who had 20 homers in 125 games his final year with the Twins in 2002.
"David always could hit. The Red Sox hadnít won a World Series championship in 86 or 88 years, something like that, and David Ortiz turned that franchise around. They might not say it, but I saw it."
Now Ortiz could stand in the way of Hunter's first trip to the World Series. He hit .309 during the regular season with 30 homers and 103 RBI, and his grand slam pushes his postseason RBI total to 54, second among active players to the Yankees' Derek Jeter (61).
While Verlander, a former AL MVP, has dominated the majority of the Red Sox players during his career, Ortiz has enjoyed success with a .370 (10-for-27) average against the flamethrower with two home runs.
Verlander just doesn't want to see history to repeat itself Ö like in Ortiz's walk-off homer off Jarrod Washburn of the Angels to win the ALDS in 2004, then hit a walk off homer off Paul Quantrill of the Yankees in Game 4 of the ALCS that season and a walk-off single in Game 5 of that same series.
Fortunatley for Verlander, Ortiz's teammates have failed to equal Big Papi's success against him:
RED SOX VS. JUSTIN VERLANDER
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF, .227 (5-22, 0 HR, 3 RBI)
Shane Victorino, RF, .000 (0-6, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, .056 (1-18, 0 HR, 0 RBI)
David Ortiz, DH, .370 (10-27, 2 HR, 4 RBI)
Mike Napoli, 1B, .222 (4-18, 1 HR, 3 RBI)
Jonny Gomes, LF, .000 (0-8, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, .133 (2-15, 0 HR, 0 RBI)
Stephen Drew, SS, .250 (2-8, 0 HR, 0 RBI)
Will Middlebrooks, 3B, .500 (1-2, 0 HR, 0 RBI)