By Ken Powtak
The Associated Press
BOSTON — David Ortiz has been in the middle of some of Fenway Park’s greatest moments. None of them seemed more important to “Big Papi” than his role in one Saturday afternoon.
Ortiz helped the Red Sox honor the victims and the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings then played in his first game since last summer, a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals capped by Daniel Nava’s three-run homer in the eighth inning.
“I try to take the positive side of things and ride with it,” Ortiz said, sitting at a table in an interview room. “But I wanted to win this game badly.”
The Red Sox wore white home jerseys with “Boston” on the front instead of the customary “Red Sox.” The shirts will be auctioned off for a fund to support victims of the bombings.
Kansas City players and staff wore a “B Strong” patch on the front of their jerseys. Neil Diamond sang Red Sox favorite “Sweet Caroline” before the bottom of the eighth.
“I think today was different because we haven’t been through what we’ve been through this past week,” Ortiz said. “Driving around and looking around at people’s faces, it was a very emotional day here just looking at those guys that were injured by those bombs going off and watching the news nearly every day, it was painful, very painful. Today I could see people opening their chest and letting it go.”
The 37-year-old Ortiz injured his right Achilles tendon running the bases on July 17 and appeared just once in Boston’s final 72 games, against the Royals on Aug. 24.
Ortiz was bothered by inflammation in both heels during spring training and didn’t play in any exhibition games. He was 2 for 4 in his return, tying the score 1-all with a sixth-inning RBI single off James Shields.
Following the emotional pregame ceremony, the Red Sox won their sixth straight game — four since Monday’s bombings at the marathon finish line.
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