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Torii Hunter on walk-off loss: Tigers learned ‘not to touch the hot stove’ that is David Ortiz

10.14.13 at 2:17 am ET
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Torii Hunter had an up-close view of David Ortiz's game-tying grand slam. (AP)

Torii Hunter had an up-close view of David Ortiz’s game-tying grand slam. (AP)

No one seemed to feel a greater sense of emptiness in the wake of the Red Sox’ 6-5 walk-off victory over the Tigers than Torii Hunter.

It was Hunter who had a view unlike anyone else in the park when his close friend and former teammate David Ortiz smashed a game-tying grand slam into the Red Sox bullpen in the bottom of the eighth inning. The low-flying rocket and Hunter arrived at the low fence in front of the Red Sox bullpen at virtually the same time, with the ball just barely clearing Hunter’s glove, and the collision of Hunter and the wall resulting in the outfielder spilling over the wall and crashing into the bullpen.

“I was going  up goin after the ball, and ended up flipping over. It was all or nothing,” said Hunter. “My hip, it hit the top of the wall. Kind of just bruised it a little bit. But this is postseason. I’d die on the field for this. They’re not going to take me off this field.”

After the fact, the pain of the collision (Hunter said he was fine after having the wind knocked out of him) was nothing compared to the emotional anguish of the defeat.

“It’s obvious. I’m pissed off. The one guy you don’t want to beat you, he beat us. One of the best hitters in postseason history. This guy, he hit the ball out of the park, it ties the game up, and they end up coming back and winning the game,” Hunter lamented. “We’re all pissed. Everyone on this team is pissed that that happened.

“You don’t want David Ortiz to beat you,” he added. “Everybody in the whole world knows that this dude can beat you. And it happened. It hurts. But what can you do?”

Hunter made clear his displeasure in seeing his team give Ortiz an opportunity to transform the game with a single swing.

“When David Ortiz walks to the plate, with the bases loaded, you’re thinking grand slam. So why did it happen?” he wondered. “[The Tigers learned] not to touch the hot stove anymore. Mom will let you touch it once, let you burn yourself so you never touch it again.”

As dismayed as Hunter was that the Tigers gave up an opportunity to return to Detroit with a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-seven ALCS, he also made clear that the Tigers are in solid shape by virtue of their 1-1 deadlock in the series. And so, he expects his team to move beyond Sunday night’s gut-wrenching defeat in an effort to reassert itself by Game 3 on Tuesday.

“We’re professionals. We get over it. You’ve got to have amnesia. If you don’t have amnesia, you wouldn’t be here in the major leagues,” said Hunter. “You’ve always got tomorrow. It stings for today, but tomorrow and Tuesday it’ll be a totally different game.”

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