MONTREAL -- Russell Martin, who grew up in Montreal cheering for the Expos, clapped his hands with excitement as he arrived at first with an RBI single in the third inning of Saturday's exhibition between the Red Sox and Blue Jays.David Ortiz, who grew up in the Dominican Republic, was
MONTREAL -- Russell Martin, who grew up in Montreal cheering for the Expos, clapped his hands with excitement as he arrived at first with an RBI single in the third inning of Saturday's exhibition between the Red Sox and Blue Jays.
David Ortiz, who grew up in the Dominican Republic, was so moved by the thunderous ovation from the Montreal crowd that he doffed his helmet while taking it all in during the top of the first inning.
Such emotion isn't often seen during Spring Training games. And it was another example that this weekend's two-game set at Olympic Stadium -- which concluded with the Red Sox downing the Blue Jays, 7-4 -- felt nothing like Spring Training.
The fans seemed to love every moment of the two games, and they made it known by clapping and roaring. Saturday's crowd was 53,420, bringing the two-game total to 106,102.
Thrilled to be in the middle of it was Martin, who was born in Ontario and raised in Quebec, and is the starting catcher for the defending American League East champion Blue Jays.
While the enthusiasm for Martin could have been predicted, the way the Montreal fans greeted Ortiz throughout the two days was something to see.
Each time Ortiz came to the plate this weekend, he got a loud ovation. Though Ortiz's mammoth home runs were saved for batting practice, he delivered a double down the line in right to lead off the fourth and then exited for a pinch-runner. Big Papi can next be seen Monday, when the Red Sox open their season in Cleveland.
"It's nice. I have never been able to play here in Montreal before, and to get that ovation from the fans, it is an appreciation and I was more than happy. It's an honor to be here," said Ortiz. "But thank you very much. [The reception] was surprising."
Martin and the Blue Jays will be out there even sooner than that, opening at Tropicana Field on Sunday against the Rays.
"Everybody's anxious to get started," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "We feel pretty good. We've got a good team. We feel even better coming off the season we had last year, we want to make this a big year, so guys are anxious. We started later than most, which in my opinion was a good thing, because in my opinion it went by pretty quick."
On getaway day for both teams, Josh Donaldson delivered an RBI single for Toronto, while Ryan Hanigan homered for the Red Sox.
The Jays had a 2-0 lead after four, but the Red Sox put up a five-spot in the fifth.
Both teams used mostly Minor League pitchers.
"Every game we play, regardless of where we are, or what time of the year, it's good to see us go out and execute," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "It was quality work in a good environment here over the weekend."
Up next for the Red Sox: Lefty ace David Price makes his first official start for the Red Sox in Monday's season opener at 4:10 p.m. ET at Progressive Field in Cleveland. The Red Sox hope to play with a lead and give new closer Craig Kimbrel a chance for his first save.
Up next for the Blue Jays: Coming off an American League East title, the Blue Jays open their regular season Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET on ESPN against the Rays at Tropicana Field. Righty Marcus Stroman will make his first career Opening Day start. Stroman was dominant in Spring Training, posting a 1.98 ERA in four starts.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com.