Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Opening day

The Sox earned a 6-5, extra-inning win against the A’s in Tokyo this morning. They were led by Manny Ramirez’s four RBI and a strong performance by a late addition to the batting order.

Manny tied the game in the sixth inning with a two-out double off of Oakland starter Joe Blanton. After David Ortiz fouled out with runners at first and second, Manny drilled the first pitch into the left-field corner, scoring Justin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. Manny then scored the go-ahead run on a two-out single to right by Brandon Moss, who was added to the lineup at the last minute when J.D. Drew had tightness in his lower back.

The Sox 3-2 lead was brief, however, as Kyle Snyder relieved starter Daisuke Matsuzaka gave up a two-run shot to Jack Hannahan in the bottom of the sixth. But Moss hit a home run off Huston Street (L, 0-1) in the top of the ninth to tie the score 4-4 and send the game into extras.

In the tenth, with Julio Lugo at second base and two outs, Street intentionally walked David Ortiz, who went 0-for-4, to pitch to Ramirez. Manny doubled to center, scoring both runners.

Jonathan Papelbon pitched a shaky bottom of the tenth, walking the first batter he faced, Daric Barton, who came around to score on a one-out double by Emil Brown, making the score 6-5. Fortunately, Brown was thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple, because the next two hitters, Bobby Crosby and Hannahan, each singled before Papelbon got Kurt Suzuki to ground out.

Dice-K gave up two hits in five innings, walked five and struck out six. He got off to a shaky start, giving up a home run and two walks, hitting a batter and throwing a wild pitch in the first inning, when Oakland scored two runs. He gave up a single and walked two more in the second inning, when he struck out Jack Cust with the bases loaded.

Dice-K settled down after that, giving up only a two-out walk in the third and getting the side in order in the fourth and fifth.

Hideki Okajima (W, 1-0) got the win, giving up only a walk in the bottom of the ninth.

Notes: Moss’ home run was the first of his career. Red Sox hitters faced three former teammates in Oakland pitchers Alan Embree, Keith Foulke and Lenny DiNardo.

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