“It was really close. I couldn’t really tell,” Cotts said. “You couldn’t even tell on the replay. If I made a better pitch, he wouldn’t have hit it that far.”
Cotts came in to face Ortiz with runners on first and third with one out. Ortiz’s drive was heading down the right-field line before it curled around the pole just 302 feet from home plate. Ortiz remained in the batter’s box until first-base umpire Jerry Meals signaled a home run.
The loss spoiled an eighth-inning rally by the Rangers, who took a 2-1 lead on Alex Rios’ sacrifice fly.
“Ortiz is one of the best and one of the clutchest hitters in the history,” said Texas’ Elvis Andrus, who had scored the go-ahead run after opening the eighth with a double. “There’s not much you can do. He was doing his magic. There’s not much you can do except turn the page and get ready for the next game.”
Andrew Miller (1-0) earned the victory despite allowing the Rangers to score the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth. Koji Uehara pitched the ninth for his second save. Alexi Ogando (0-1) allowed two runs.
“It’s real disheartening,” Cotts said. “Everybody played well except the guy you’re talking to.”
Ogando walked Jackie Bradley Jr. leading off the bottom of the eighth, and then pinch-hitter A.J. Pierzynski blooped a popup down the right-field line that fell in for a single. One out later, Ortiz lined a 1-1 pitch from Cotts down the line and into the seats that jut out from the pole to the right-field corner.
Because the ball sailed much higher than the pole that determines fair from foul, it was not clear - even to Ortiz - whether the homer would count. Meals signaled fair, and the Rangers immediately looked to the dugout to see if Washington would appeal.
After Washington’s brief chat with plate umpire Jordan Baker, the crew went to the visitors’ dugout and returned a short time later to confirm the original ruling.