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Ortiz finds power stroke over rocky weekend

Big Papi homers Sunday for 3rd time in 4 games
MLB.com

BOSTON -- In a weekend low on positives for the Red Sox, David Ortiz's power surge stood out as the silver lining to Toronto's three-game sweep following Sunday's 13-5 rout at Fenway Park.

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BOSTON -- In a weekend low on positives for the Red Sox, David Ortiz's power surge stood out as the silver lining to Toronto's three-game sweep following Sunday's 13-5 rout at Fenway Park.

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Facing Blue Jays righty Marco Estrada in the fifth inning, Ortiz saw a 2-2 fastball left high over the plate and pulled it deep into the right-field seats for a three-run homer -- his third in four days.

"He is much more free," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Today against Estrada, he gets a fastball up in the zone that he hits out of the ballpark. He is on some pitches much more consistently here."

The blast gave Ortiz 475 career homers, tying him with Hall of Famers Stan Musial and Willie Stargell for 29th on baseball's all-time list. Ortiz could not be reached for comment after the game.

"I have so much respect for David, what he's done his whole career," Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts said. "I definitely know that he will turn things around. I have a lot of faith in him, for sure."

Ortiz finished the series 4-for-10 with four walks, four runs and six RBIs. And while his .277 OPS against lefties has overshadowed the slow start, the Sox can take solace in his production off right-handers: nine home runs, a .288 average and a .547 slugging percentage through 64 games.

"A lot of times, I think he gets himself out by trying to do too much," assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez said before the game. "Instead of going with the pitch, he's trying to generate and [is] getting out of his approach. As you can see right now, he's back to what he needs to do. He's taking pitches, going the other way. He's getting pitches inside. He's reacting the right way. I think he's going in the right direction right now."

Video: TOR@BOS: Ortiz singles home Holt and BogaertsOne of the more encouraging signs for Ortiz came on Friday, when he slapped a low, outside breaking ball off the Green Monster for a two-RBI single in the first inning. He may not have recorded an opposite-field home run yet this season, but continuing to drive outside pitches away from his body is paramount to the 39-year-old regaining form.

"That's him. They are not pitching him inside," Rodriguez said. "He has to go the other way. He has to take those hits, then when they come inside, be ready to react.

"We've seen a lot of good things and we've got a long way to go, so I'm expecting a solid year. Like every year."

Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz