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April 8, 2007
Red Sox 3, Rangers 2
ARLINGTON, Texas -- For the first week of the season, they were strangely silent, the team’s No. 1 starter and top run producer.
Curt Schilling had been dispatched after just four innings on Opening Day in Kansas City while David Ortiz had been a decided non-factor in a listless Red Sox attack, sporting a paltry .158 batting average before last night without a homer.
But as if kick-started by one another, Schilling and Ortiz took over last night’s final game of the opening road trip and made it their own.
Ortiz cranked two homers to account for all three of the Red Sox’ runs while Schilling pitched seven strong innings to produce a 3-2 victory over the Texas Rangers and avoid a series sweep.
The victory was not without it’s anxious moments. After Schilling was lifted after seven, the Red Sox infield defense and bullpen melted down in the eighth.
Joel Piniero walked the first two hitters he faced -- Gerald Laird and Ian Kinsler. Kenny Lofton squared to bunt and Mike Lowell fielded it cleanly, but with Red Sox infielders rotating -- first baseman Kevin Youkilis was charing from first -- Lowell seemed momentarily confused, even as Alex Cora stood on first, waiting for the third baseman’s throw.
It never came as Lowell double-pumped and help onto the ball, loading the bases.
Lefty Javier Lopez, bound for Pawtucket tomorrow to make room for Mike Timlin’s activation, came on to face Frank Catalanotto, but the Rangers counted with righty Nelson Cruz. Cruz drilled a liner right to Youkilis, but the ball popped out of his glove and the best the Sox could do was get a force out at second on Lofton while Cruz reached base and Laird crossed the plate.
Having seen enough, Terry Francona went to Jonathan Papelbon and didn’t regret the move. Papelbon, in just his second appearance of the season, froze Michael Young with a 97 mph fastball, then got Mark Teixeira to pop to third.
Five pitches, threat quelled.
Papelbon then came back for the ninth, retiring the side in order, and recorded his second save in as many chances.
Ortiz, who said Friday he was ``fighting’’ through an early-season slump, gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the first with a drive to right.
Two innings later, with Alex Cora (hit batsman) on second, Ortiz struck again, launching a high drive that settled into the first few rows of the right field grandstand.
The Sox had just two other hits on the night against Vicente Padilla, but they didn’t need much more with Schilling making sure the runs stood up.
A half-inning after Ortiz had given him a quick 1-0 margin, Schilling violated one of his maxims -- never give the lead right back. He yielded a solo homer to Frank Catalanotto, who had entered the game with a history of success (10-for-19) against Schilling.
But after Catalanotto knotted the game quickly, Schilling found himself. He gave up a single to Michael Young, but didn’t allow another baserunner to get into scoring position against him the rest of the night.
After issuing a leadoff walk to Kenny Lofton to open the third, Schilling retired 14 of the next 15 hitters he faced, including the final 10 in succession.
As a measure of Schilling’s improvement from the opener, consider that he threw 89 pitches in four innings Monday while needing just 102 to get through seven full innings last night.
Meanwhile, the Sox weren’t getting much done against Padilla beyond Ortiz’ show of strength.
They managed to put the leadoff man on base against him in the fourth and fifth, but didn’t capitalize any further.
An infield single by J.D. Drew top open the fourth extended the outfielder’s hitting streak to six games, but Padilla quickly erased him from the bases when he got Lowell to hit into a 5-4-3 double play.
It was more of the same in the fifth.
Coco Crisp -- 2-for-18 before the at-bat -- singled to left, but Padilla retired Cora, Julio Lugo and Youkilis to keep Crisp anchored at first.
After Crisp’s single to open the fifth, Padilla and the Texas bullpen retired the next 14 Boston hitters in a row before Drew singled with two out in the ninth.
Posted by Chris Venditto at 10:56 PM | Permalink
Sorry to be late with these
Posted by Sean McAdam at 7:54 PM | Permalink
PawSox work overtime again, lose 4-3 in 12
FORT MILL, S.C. -- The Pawtucket RedSox's first-ever 4-0 start will have to wait for another season.
The PawSox (3-1) missed that milestone the hard way Sunday afternoon, fallling to the Charlotte Knights 4-3 in a 12-inning, 3-1/2 hour marathon in front of 2,009 fans at Knights Stadium. Kenny Kelly's single through a drawn-in infield off PawSox relief pitcher Bryan Corey gave Charlotte a comeback win after Pawtucket had broken a long-standing 1-1 tie with two runs in the top of the inning.
"It wasn't meant to be today," said Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson. "But you win three out of four on the road to start the season, I'll take that any time. It was a real good series for us."
And it looked as if the PawSox were poised to sweep it from the Knights in the top of the 12th. Jeff Bailey put Pawtucket in front 2-1 with a long leadoff homer to left, just inside the foul pole, off Charlotte reliever Ryan Bukvich (1-0), the fourth Knights pitcher.
The PawSox added one more run in the inning. With one out, George Kottaras walked and went to third when Brandon Moss singled off the bag at second base. Kottaras scored on Bobby Scales' sacrifice fly to left.
In the bottom of the inning, Josh Fields led off with a homer to left off Craig Breslow, on a wind-aided fly ball that just cleared the fence. Breslow walked Ryan Sweeney and was replaced by Corey. Ernie Young stroked a single to center field, where David Murphy trapped, then momentarily appeared to lose track of the ball. The error allowed Sweeney to score and Young took second on the play. Kenny Perez sacrificed Young to third, and the winning run scored when Kelly stroked the ball through the left side of the infield.
"It was kind of an odd inning, and it (the error) was a weird play," Johnson said. "The walk (to Sweeney) was really the only downside of the whole game. When we got up 3-1 it looked like we might be in pretty good shape, but that's the way baseball goes sometimes."
Once again, the PawSox got a boost from their starting pitching. Runelvys Hernandez baffled the Knights over 5-2/3 innings, scattering three hits and striking out five. Charlotte put three leadoff batters on against him. But they couldn't get anybody past second base until the sixth. Casey Rogowski's double off reliever Mike Burns drove in Owens, who had reached on a fielder's choice after Gonzalez' leadoff single.
Charlotte starting pitcher Gavin Floyd was just as effective. He allowed four hits in six innings, with the only run scoring when Bobby Scales homered to right field with one out in the fifth.
"You tip your hat to the pitchers on both sides," Johnson said. "When both teams only have one run through 11 innings, you're throwing some pretty good stuff out there."
From the sixth inning to the last one, baserunners were scarce on both sides. Charlotte relief pitchers Shaun Babula, Aaron Wasserman and Bukvich allowed only one PawSox player on base combined over five innings..
The Knights had an opportunity in the seventh against Burns. Sweeney led off with a single and went to second on a one-out infield out by Perez. A balk advanced Sweeney to third, but Kelly flied out to end the inning.
Burns, Manny Delcarmen and Breslow combined for shutout relief from the sixth through the 11th inning.
NOTES: The PawSox begin a four-game series against Durham at 7 p.m. tonight at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Scheduled starting pitchers are left-hander Abe Alvarez for Pawtucket and right-hander Mitch Talbot for Durham.
--KEITH CANNON (Special to the Journal)
Posted by Chris Venditto at 6:29 PM | Permalink
What They Are Saying
SAMMY SOSA (on hitting his first home run of the season): “It feels great. I fought my way up and I’m here, and I’m doing it. I feel very happy, very pleased. I didn’t think I had enough. I guess I was wrong. --AP
RUDY JARAMILLO (Rangers' hitting coach on Sosa's homer): The kids were real excited on the bench, we were too. He’s hard not to like. He brings a lot to the game. He’s got something going. I told him it’s going to get better as we go. He’s got a lot of confidence. It’s good to see that.” -- AP
JULIAN TAVARES: “The game plan was to get quick outs and attack. The first two innings I did that. My teammates gave me some support. I wasn’t able to hold on and we lost the game.”
Posted by Chris Venditto at 12:39 AM | Permalink