Torii Hunter was still shaken up but in good spirits Monday, a day after he fell into the Boston bullpen in a futile effort to catch David Ortiz's tying grand slam.
The Detroit Tigers' right fielder indicated he'll be ready to play Tuesday in Game 3 of the AL championship series, but the day off between games was welcome.
"I feel like I played a football game," Hunter said. "I'm just going to go ahead and get a massage, get some treatment, try to get in the hot tub, loosen up a little bit. I'll be fine."
Hunter went racing toward the fence on Ortiz's line drive and overran the ball slightly before trying to jump back and catch it. His momentum took him over the short wall, but he was able to stay in the game.
"I hit the top of the wall when I came over — it hit me in the ribs and I lost my breath," Hunter said. "They told me I fell on my head and stuff like that, and I was just kind of out of it for a minute, a little groggy."
Hunter said he lost the ball in the lights slightly while pursuing it.
"I was going to give it every attempt to go out there and try to catch that ball," Hunter said. "If it takes for me to get knocked out or die on the field, I guess I've got to do it."
Hunter said he was hurting all over Monday. He first laughed off a question about whether he'd had a concussion test, saying he's from the "old school" — but he later said that was a risk he took seriously.
"Thirty years from now, if I forget how to ride a bike — it's OK," Hunter joked. "I'm lying. You can take anything away from me — I still want my mind. So I'm going to go ahead and get treatment, let them do some tests and we'll check it out. I've got a little headache, but it'll be fine."
BACK IN FAMILIAR TERRITORY: Dodger Stadium is hosting its 10th NL championship series. The first one was in 1974, when the Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates three games to one, with two victories by Don Sutton against future teammate Jerry Reuss.
"The '74 NLCS was in a year when we'd won 102 games," former third baseman Ron Cey recalled. "We opened the playoffs in Pittsburgh, and we were 0-6 in two road trips there. But we didn't think that was going to be an issue. They had a formidable club, but we had Sutton and (Andy) Messersmith back-to-back the first two games."
Sutton, who won 324 games in his 23-year Hall of Fame career and six more in the postseason, beat the Pirates 3-0 in Game 1 with a four-hitter — which to this day he regards as the best game he ever pitched. He struck out Pirates RBI leader Richie Zisk three times during his 84-pitch effort.
"We knew they were good. They had a dimension of speed and power, but I didn't think they could match up with us pitching-wise," recalled Sutton, the Dodgers' leader in wins, starts, shutouts and strikeouts. "And I think with the pitching we could run at them, I think our guys felt like we didn't have to score a whole lot of runs. So all of us felt we could beat those guys. It was one of the most confident group of guys I was ever around."
Sutton got the ball again for Game 4 at Chavez Ravine and breezed to a 12-1 victory with eight innings of three-hit ball. He threw 78 pitches and could have finished it, but manager Walter Alston had other ideas.
"There's two outs in the eighth and we're at bat," Sutton said. "Walter told me: 'I'm bringing in (Mike) Marshall to pitch.' Then he said, 'Get your helmet on.' I said, 'But you're bringing in somebody else.' He said, 'Yeah, but I want you to go to the plate. The way you pitched in these playoffs, you've got a standing ovation coming and I want to see you get it. Then I'll call you back.' I get a little teary-eyed just thinking about it."
VALUABLE RELIEF: Bullpen sessions can only take a starting pitcher so far.
So when St. Louis Cardinals starter Lance Lynn was asked to pitch two innings of relief in Game 1 of the NL championship series, he made the most of it. Lynn kept the Dodgers scoreless through the 12th and 13th, and ended up earning the win.
He also used the two-inning stint as a meaningful bullpen session, something he needed since he hadn't pitched in seven days.
"I was off the mound for (seven) days before that," Lynn said. "So to get into a game situation, it was good."
Lynn, who went 15-10 for the Cardinals during the regular season, went six days between starts before getting the ball in Game 2 of the NL division series. He allowed five earned runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"There is only so much you can do in a bullpen to get live (batters)," Lynn said. "That's going to be a plus."
How much of a plus will be determined Tuesday when he starts Game 4 of the NLCS.
BIG NUMBERS: David Ortiz didn't just put up big numbers at the plate, he also did it on TV.
Boston's 6-5 win over Detroit on Sunday night, sparked by Big Papi's eighth-inning grand slam, drew a 5.2 rating and 8 share on Fox with 8.3 million viewers, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.
That marked a 44 percent increase from the 3.6/6 for San Francisco's 7-1 victory over St. Louis in Game 2 of last year's NL championship series on Fox, and a 24 percent rise from Texas' 7-3, 11-inning win over Detroit in the second game of the 2011 ALCS, which had been pushed back a day because of rain.
The two-game ALCS average is 4.7/8, up 21 percent over last year.