Gulf News

Boston Red Sox crush Mariners in home opener

BECKETT PITCHES SEVEN STRONG INNINGS TO SET UP WIN

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With Daisuke Matsuzaka waiting in the wings, the Boston Red Sox made the most of their home opener on Tuesday by pounding the Seattle Mariners 14-3.

Josh Beckett pitched seven strong innings and J.D. Drew hit his first home run of the season to lead the Red Sox to a victory that was punctuated by an altercatio­n between Red Sox reliever Brendan Donnelly and Mariners outfielder Jose Guillen in the eighth inning.

The 14 runs were the second most scored by Boston in a home season opener.

The Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 15-5 in their 1973 home opener.

It was a momentumbu­ilding warm-up for Matsuzaka's Fenway debut, which he admitted he expected to be a more emotional experience than his first major league start in BOSTON 14 Houston 4 St Louis 3 Detroit 3 CLEVELAND 7 Kansas 6 ATLANTA 8 TEXAS 12

Sacred place

Seattle 3 CH CUBS 2 P’BURGH 2 BALTIMORE 1 LA Angels 6 TORONTO 3 Washington 0 Tampa Bay 9 Kansas City last week. "Many great pitchers have performed at Fenway Park. When I stand there, special emotions may come to me," Matsuzaka said.

"This game means a lot more to me personally. I think that (Fenway) is a sacred place." Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the Mariners lineup features another Japanese superstar, Ichiro Suzuki.

"Ever since he left Japan NY Yankees 10 San F’isco 6 OAKLAND 2 LA DODGERS 2 ARIZONA 5 MINNESOTA 1 SAN DIEGO 5 Ch W Sox 1 Colorado 1 Cincinnati 4 to go to the Majors, he is someone I've wanted to face again," Matsuzaka said.

There was little suspense at Fenway on Tuesday, as the Red Sox took a 7-0 lead after two innings against a Mariners team that had their entire fourgame series with Cleveland postponed by winter weather.

Beckett allowed one run and just two hits with eight strikeouts.

"Beckett had great com- mand today and I think you could tell our pitchers had a harder time with the layoff," Mariners' first baseman Richie Sexson said.

"He threw off-speed pitches in hitter's counts and whenever you can do that, you're going to be effective."

Boston scored in each of the first five innings and made Jeff Weaver's debut with the Mariners a short one.

Weaver, who helped the St. Louis Cardinals win a World Series last season, lasted just two innings and allowed seven runs and seven hits.

Boston jumped on Weaver for four runs in the first inning, highlighte­d by Coco Crisp's two-run ground-rule double. An RBI double by Kevin Youkilis and a two-run homer by Drew in the second inning increased the lead to 7-0.

 ?? EPA ?? Seattle Mariners’ catcher Kenji Johjima (left) is unable to make the tag on Boston Red Sox's Jason Varitek during their game in Boston on Tuesday.
EPA Seattle Mariners’ catcher Kenji Johjima (left) is unable to make the tag on Boston Red Sox's Jason Varitek during their game in Boston on Tuesday.

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