for this game

Red Sox rookie Gabbard sharp against Braves

May 21, 2007 - 1:34 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- Kason Gabbard made his season debut Sunday to rave reviews at Fenway Park.

The rookie lefthander pitched five-plus strong innings and Kevin Youkilis continued his assault on opposing pitchers as the Boston Red Sox earned a 6-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Gabbard's battery mate, Jason Varitek, helped his young starter out with a pair of hits and three RBI as the Red Sox extended their lead in the American League East to 10 1/2 games over the second-place Baltimore Orioles.

Gabbard (1-0) yielded two runs and six hits in five-plus frames, striking out seven and issuing just one walk.

"It was not an easy day for him," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of his starter waiting out a 2 1/2-hour rain delay before throwing his first pitch. "He really kept his composure throughout the (rain) delay. He doesn't change his facial expression much anyway but he stayed ready. It's not an easy thing for anybody to do."

The 25-year-old, optioned back to Class AAA Pawtucket after the win, appeared in seven games - four starts - for Boston last season, pitching to a 1-3 record with a 3.51 ERA.

"He threw a fastball with a lot of movement and his off-speed pitches were really effective," Francona said. "And maybe it's fortunate the sun comes out; a lefthander with the shadows."

Youkilis extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the first inning.

"Distance to me does not matter until we're 10 1/2 games ahead and we're clinching, but it's May," Youkilis said of the club's big lead in the AL East. "It's a long season. It would be great if the season ended today and we were the first place team but that's not the case. We need to go out and play."

Boston's first baseman slugged a homer in the fifth and a ground-rule double in the seventh. He is hitting .446 (25-for-56) with four homers and 13 RBI during the streak.

"I'm just looking to stay through a ball," Youkilis said. "He's (Braves starter Tim Hudson) got a good sinker and I'm trying to stay (with) a pitch and it was out over the plate. I wasn't trying to hit a home run that way or drive the ball that way."

The Red Sox jumped on Hudson early, pounding the former American Leaguer for four runs in the first inning - three coming home on a bases-loaded triple by Varitek.

"With Hudson on the mound, you've got to take advantage of your opportunities when you can, and luckily I got a pitch to hit," Varitek said.

Hudson, who entered the start 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA, had not yielded more than three earned runs in any start this season before facing Boston. The veteran righthander lasted just 4 2/3 innings, allowing six runs and eight hits.

"I never really had a chance to get into a rhythm," Hudson said. "They got to me early and I made a horrible pitch to Varitek and had a cutter back up over the middle of the plate."

Hudson has never had success against the Red Sox, owning a 3-7 career mark with a 5.80 ERA in 10 starts coming in to Sunday's contest.

"I didn't have the stuff I needed to beat those guys today," Hudson said. "I've definitely had my fair share of trouble against these guys but on the other hand, I don't think these guys have ever seen me at my best."

Atlanta got two runs back in the sixth on an RBI single by Matt Diaz and a bases-loaded walk by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Red Sox reliever Brendan Donnelly allowed the runs to score, but they were charged to Gabbard, who left the game with two on and none out in the sixth.

The Braves managed just three runs despite pounding out 13 hits. They left 18 runners on base. Atlanta slugger Andruw Jones struck out a career-high five times, leaving five men on base.

"I just got pitched good and swung at bad pitches and those things happen," Jones said. "It's not the first time I've struck out six, seven times in a row. It's no big deal. We'll see what happens when we go back home."

"He's been in (a slump) before," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "We are not giving up on him, never have, never will."








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

    BATTERIES: ATL - TIM HUDSON, MACAY MCBRIDE (5TH), TYLER YATES (7TH), RAFAEL
    SORIANO (8TH) AND BRIAN MCCANN
    BOS - KASON GABBARD, BRENDAN DONNELLY (6TH), JAVIER
    LOPEZ (6TH), KY

    May 20 7:40 PM


  • ML
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JEFF FRANCOEUR SCORED EDGAR RENTERIA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J FRANCOEUR ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 3
    BOSTON 6 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: M DIAZ (.344, 3-FOR-4, RBI)

    Braves vs. Red SoxMay 20 7:37 PM


  • ML
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO JARROD SALTALAMACCHIA SCORED JEFF
    FRANCOEUR.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J SALTALAMACCHIA ON FIRST, B MCCANN ON
    SECOND, M DIAZ ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 2
    BOSTON 6 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: S THORMAN (.255, 0-FOR-2)

    Braves vs. Red SoxMay 20 6:31 PM


  • ML
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MATT DIAZ SCORED CHIPPER JONES.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M DIAZ ON FIRST, J FRANCOEUR ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 1
    BOSTON 6 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: A JONES (.216, 0-FOR-2)

    Braves vs. Red SoxMay 20 6:19 PM


  • ML
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY KEVIN YOUKILIS (6) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF TIM HUDSON.
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0, BOSTON 6
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: D ORTIZ (.316, 1-FOR-2, RBI)

    Braves vs. Red SoxMay 20 6:00 PM


  • ML
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY DAVID ORTIZ SCORED DUSTIN PEDROIA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D ORTIZ ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0
    BOSTON 5 BOTTOM, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: M RAMIREZ (.250, 0-FOR-1)

    Braves vs. Red SoxMay 20 5:15 PM


  • ML
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ERIC HINSKE SCORED JASON VARITEK.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, E HINSKE ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0
    BOSTON 4 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: A CORA (.355, 2 HR, 12 RBI)

    Braves vs. Red SoxMay 20 4:57 PM


  • ML
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY JASON VARITEK SCORED DAVID ORTIZ, MANNY RAMIREZ
    AND J.D. DREW.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, J VARITEK ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0
    BOSTON 3 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: E HINSKE (.182, 1 HR, 4 RBI)

    Braves vs. Red SoxMay 20 4:56 PM