Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Beckett, Sox Blow Out Mariners in Fenway Opener 14 - 3

Josh Beckett needed only two runs of support from the Red Sox offense to secure him a victory in yesterday's Fenway Park season opener. Instead, he got 14 runs on 14 hits. The most runs scored in a Boston home opener since 1975.

Coming off a three-game series in Texas where the Sox averaged two runs per game on offense, Boston powered their way to a fourteen run-fourteen hit production against the Mariners on Tuesday. Thirteen of them in the first five innings. Sox scored four in the first inning including a 2-run ground rule double by CF Coco Crisp and a RBI sacrifice fly by Right fielder J.D. Drew. Following a three run second inning which included the game's only home run by Drew and a RBI-Double by Kevin Youkilis. The Sox went on to score six more runs between the third and firth innings. Jason Varitek also contributed with three hits and three RBI's in four plate appearances. "We pulled out the whupping sticks today," said starter Josh Beckett "They've been off for a while. It maybe affected their pitchers being able to throw strikes. You can't go through our order and walk guys. You're going to get burned."

Mariner's starting pitcher and 2006 World Series star Jeff Weaver was dismal in his first start of the 2007 season. Weaver was hammered for seven runs and seven hits with one strikeout on 70 pitches in the first two innings. Long relief pitcher Jake Woods came in to play the mopup role in the third and gave up three runs on four hits in the following two innings. The remainder of the Seattle bullpen featured relievers Brandon Morrow, Julio Mateo, Chris Reitsma, and closer J.J. Putz, giving up the other three runs on three hits.

As for Sox pitching, Josh Beckett pitched his second gem in as many games with eight strikeouts and one run in seven innings pitched. Reliever Brenden Donnelly was ejected in the eighth inning after sparking a verbal fight with outfielder Jose Guillen followed by hitting catcher Kenji Johjima. Donnelly and Guillen were formally teammates together in Anaheim during the 2005 season. It has been noted that the two ex-Angels have "Bad Blood" between them which attributed to Guillen's exit and trade to the Nationals in 2005. Donnelly struck out Guillen in the 8th inning of which Guillen expected to get hit. After the strikeout, Guillen didn't appreciate Donnelly's celebration and exchanged words while walking back to the dugout. The two were seperated by both benchs and Guillen was ejected. Donnelly, would then pitch an inside 0-2 fastball off Kenji Johjima's leg and be immediatly ejected with no argument from manager Terry Francona. Hideki Okajima would retire the remainder of the eighth and Timlin would pitch the ninth while giving up two runs.

The Seattle Mariners had the previous four days off due to a cancellation of the entire three game series against the Indians because of heavy snowfalls in Cleveland. Seattle manager Mike Hargrove attributes the loss due to too many days off. "Yeah, we played like we hadn't played in four days today. We pitched like it. We swung the bats like it. We played defense like it. We should be better tomorrow." says Hargrove. Terry Francona would also comment on the Mariners day off "They were put in a tough situation for the last four days. We had an advantage, and we took advantage. Hopefully that will work for a couple days."

Daisuke Matsuzaka will start today against the Mariners and will face off against Ichiro Suzuki for the first time since 1999 in Japan. Dice-K and Ichiro are the two biggest names in Japan and will be considered a major matchup overseas. Japanese reporter Kaizo Kinero said today on WSKO 790's morning show with Andy Gresh and Scott Zolak "There is no question this will be considered a major matchup over in Japan. Matzusaka and Ichiro are the two biggest icons in Japanese Baseball. There will be not anyone in the next ten years that is like them."

Game will be televised live on ESPN at 7:05 ET.

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