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Red Sox pound out four homers, dominate Blue Jays

May 9, 2007 - 4:29 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- The Boston Red Sox found their power against the Toronto Blue Jays, and Josh Beckett moved one step closer to history.

The Red Sox pounded out four homers and Beckett pitched seven strong innings Tuesday en route to a 9-2 win over the struggling Blue Jays.

Beckett yielded one run and five hits while striking out five to earn his major-league leading seventh win in as many starts, one behind Babe Ruth (1917), Dave Ferriss (1945) and Roger Moret (1973) for the franchise record for consecutive wins to begin a season.

"(Beckett) did a real good job," said Terry Francona, who collected his 300th victory as Red Sox manager. "He got down in the zone and made adjustments real quick which is really good to see. He pitched like he's supposed to."

Beckett, who averaged a team-leading 7.7 runs of support from Boston's offense entering Tuesday's start, had no need to complain about the offense against Toronto, which has lost seven in a row.

"It's awesome (to get that run support)," Beckett said. "The guys are comfortable and they're going out there and producing. It's always nice to have a huge cushion like that, it's just one of those things that I can't control so I don't worry about that."

Red Sox batters were not fooled by Blue Jays' starter Victor Zambrano, who was chased after surrendering eight runs and eight hits in just 2 2/3 innings. The veteran righthander was making his second start of the season after beginning the 2007 campaign in the bullpen.

"It's tough when you miss your location," Zambrano said. "It's only my second start and it's a long season, but I felt pretty good. It's just tough when you can't hit your spots."

Boston scored just seven runs total while taking two of three from the Minnesota Twins over the weekend, but jumped on the board early when Kevin Youkilis - the second hitter of the game - drove a 2-1 thigh-high fastball from Zambrano over the center-field wall for a solo homer, his third of the season.

Toronto tied it in the bottom of the opening frame when leadoff hitter Alex Rios launched Beckett's first pitch over the wall in center for his sixth blast of the season. It was the third time this season he homered leading off a game and the eighth time in his career.

It was just the second homer that Beckett had surrendered this season, after allowing a career-high 36 during the 2006 campaign.

"I still think that's one of the most impressive things that you can do out there on the baseball field," Beckett said. "To go up there in your first at-bat when you're leading off and hit the first pitch for a home run - you've got to tip your cap to (Rios)."

The Blue Jays gave Beckett fits last season, holding him to a 1-2 record with a 6.21 ERA while blasting eight homers in just five starts.

"(Beckett) knocked us out of the ballgame early," Toronto designated hitter Frank Thomas said. "He knows how to finish off guys and he's got overpowering stuff to do it. When he's got that stuff working he's awfully tough."

The Red Sox quickly gave Beckett a bigger cushion in the second. After Zambrano got two outs, Jason Varitek singled and Coco Crisp walked, setting up rookie Dustin Pedroia for some heroics.

Boston's diminutive second baseman took a 1-1 inside pitch and lined it into the seats in left field for a three-run blast, his first of the season.

Pedroia had gotten off to a slow start this season, but since an 0-for-3 night May 1 against Oakland that dropped him to .172, the 23-year-old is batting .615 (8-for-13) to push his average up to .254.

"I always have confidence in my ability, but it seems like I always get off to a slow start," said Pedroia, who hit his third career home run and second at Toronto. "It's tough, but once you get going it's definitely fun to come out of it like this."

The Red Sox put four more runs on the board in the next inning, when Mike Lowell lined a three-run homer down the line in left and Jason Varitek, who went 4-for-4 in the game, followed immediately after with a solo shot.

It was the second time this season the two had gone back-to-back (the first was the back end of back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers against the Yankees on April 23).

"Youkilis got us started, (Pedroia) hit a big three-run home run and then Lowell added to it," Varitek said. "I found some holes tonight so it was nice to score some runs again."

Youkilis left the game in the sixth after getting hit by a pitch above the left knee. He is listed as day-to-day with a leg contusion.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    BOSTON 1 3 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 9 13 0
    TORONTO 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 6 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: BOS - JOSH BECKETT, DEVERN HANSACK (8TH), J.C. ROMERO (8TH), KYLE
    SNYDER (9TH) AND JASON VARITEK
    TOR - VICTOR ZAMBRANO, SHAUN MARCUM (3RD), CASEY
    JANSSEN (6TH), BR

    May 8 10:12 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MATT STAIRS SCORED ROYCE CLAYTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M STAIRS ON FIRST, A LIND ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 9
    TORONTO 2 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: F THOMAS (.252, 0-FOR-3)

    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysMay 8 9:47 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JULIO LUGO SCORED JASON VARITEK.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J LUGO ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 9
    TORONTO 1 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: E HINSKE (.240, 0 HR, 2 RBI)

    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysMay 8 9:24 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JASON VARITEK (3) TO CENTER WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 3RD OFF VICTOR ZAMBRANO.
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 8, TORONTO 1
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: C CRISP (.236, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysMay 8 7:53 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY MIKE LOWELL (5) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 3RD OFF VICTOR ZAMBRANO SCORED MANNY RAMIREZ AND J.D. DREW.
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 7, TORONTO 1
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J VARITEK (.259, 1-FOR-1)

    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysMay 8 7:52 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY DUSTIN PEDROIA (1) TO LEFT CENTER
    WITH 2 OUT IN THE 2ND OFF VICTOR ZAMBRANO SCORED JASON VARITEK AND
    COCO CRISP.
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 4, TORONTO 1
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J LUGO (.228, 1-FOR-1)

    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysMay 8 7:31 PM


  • AL
    AT TORONTO
    CONFIRMED STARTERS: BOS - JOSH BECKETT
    TOR - VICTOR ZAMBRANO

    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysMay 8 7:15 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    BOSTON 1 1 2 0
    TORONTO 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: BOS - JOSH BECKETT
    TOR - VICTOR ZAMBRANO

    DUE UP FOR TORONTO: A RIOS (.266, 5 HR, 18 RBI)
    A LIND (.241, 3 HR, 11 RBI)
    V WELLS (.279, 4 HR, 17 RBI)

    Red Sox vs. Blue JaysMay 8 7:12 PM