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Tavarez leads Red Sox to win in opener of day-night DH

May 17, 2007 - 8:54 PM BOSTON (Ticker) -- Julian Tavarez and Zach Minor engaged in an unlikely duel at Fenway Park.

Tavarez pitched seven strong innings as the Boston Red Sox claimed a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

Wednesday night's scheduled game was postponed due to rain, forcing the teams to play a day-night doubleheader.

A converted reliever, Tavarez yielded one run and four hits in seven innings to earn his first win since April 29.

"(Catcher Doug) Mirabelli is one of the reasons why I was so effective today," Tavarez said. "We attacked the hitters today. We worked really fast. He (Mirabelli) told me to challenge those guys with a lot of sinking fastballs. Mirabelli was a big part of it today."

Minor, who was making his first start of the season in place of the ill Mike Maroth, nearly matched Tavarez. The recently-recalled righthander allowed just one earned run.

Neither Detroit nor the Red Sox, first and second in the American League, respectively in slugging percentage, managed an extra-base hit.

"It was one of those games," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "I don't know whether it is because of the cool weather or what, but both teams' offenses didn't do a whole lot but at the same time, both teams' pitchers pitched very well."

Boston turned to Hideki Okajima in the eighth inning and Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth to close out the win. The two have combined to yield just three runs in 34 innings, while Papelbon has converted 11-of-12 save opportunites.

"They (Okajima and Papelbon) did what they were supposed to," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "It's so nice to be able to get to the eighth and feel like, regardless of what the score is, you're going to win. It doesn't necessarily always work out that way, but we should have a lot of confidence in the way those guys are throwing."

The Red Sox opened the scoring in the first inning when Coco Crisp lifted Minor's 3-2 sinkerball into left field for a one-out single. David Ortiz followed with a slow grounder to second which shortstop Carlos Guillen - playing on the right side of the infield because of the defensive shift on Boston's slugger - fielded on a hop. Guillen attempted to slap a tag on the sliding Crisp, but the speedy centerfielder avoided the tag, leaving Ortiz as the only out on the play.

With the left side of the infield vacated due to the shift, Crisp astutely scampered on to third and came home on Manny Ramirez's RBI single to center.

The Red Sox added another run in the third when Julio Lugo, who reached on a fielding error by Guillen, came around to score on an opposite-field single by Kevin Youkilis, who had extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the first inning. Youkilis is batting .488 (20-for-41) in his last 10 contests.

Boston had chances to break open the game in the first and third innings, but Minor retired Mike Lowell on popouts with runners on first and third in both frames. Lowell entered the game fifth in the American League with 30 RBI and was hitting at a .375 clip with runners in scoring position.

Minor was not scheduled to start the game, but was forced into duty when scheduled starter Mike Maroth came down with an illness. The 25-year-old righthander lasted 5 1/3 innings last Thursday, surrendering two runs - one earned - and six hits.

"Zach did a great job for us today," Leyland said. "We have confidence in him as a starter and today he delivered for us."

The Tigers cut the lead in half with a run in the fifth inning, when Placido Polanco grounded a single up the middle, scoring Craig Monroe from second with two outs. With runners on first and second, Tavarez walked Gary Sheffield, bringing Maggio Ordonez up with the bases full. Ordonez, who is batting .429 with runners in scoring position this season and ranks second in the AL with 37 RBI, flied out to center to end the threat.

Tavarez settled down after the fifth, retiring the next six batters he faced. The veteran sinkerballer had not made it past the sixth inning in any of his six previous starts.

Tavarez had been the one weak link on a team that has appeared to be firing on all cylinders so far in 2007. With his success against the Tigers, Tavarez may have cooled some of the calls for Jon Lester to be activated to take his place in the rotation.

When the Red Sox open up their first interleague series of the season Friday here against the Atlanta Braves, they will need their first new starter of the season as Josh Beckett (7-0) will be skipped while the skin heels on his injured middle finger.

Class AAA prospects Kason Gabbard and Devern Hansack are the most likely replacements.








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

    BATTERIES: DET - ZACH MINER, TIM BYRDAK (6TH), JOSE MESA (8TH) AND IVAN
    RODRIGUEZ
    BOS - JULIAN TAVAREZ, HIDEKI OKAJIMA (8TH), JONATHAN
    PAPELBON (9TH) AND DOUG MIRABELLI

    HOM

    May 17 3:25 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots

    Tigers vs. Red SoxMay 17 3:14 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE (1ST GAME)
    SINGLE BY PLACIDO POLANCO SCORED CRAIG MONROE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, P POLANCO ON FIRST, B INGE ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 1
    BOSTON 2 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR DETROIT: G SHEFFIELD (.244, 1-FOR-2)

    Tigers vs. Red SoxMay 17 2:04 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE (1ST GAME)
    SINGLE BY KEVIN YOUKILIS SCORED JULIO LUGO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, K YOUKILIS ON FIRST, D ORTIZ ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 0
    BOSTON 2 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: M LOWELL (.314, 0-FOR-1)

    Tigers vs. Red SoxMay 17 1:38 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE (1ST GAME)
    SINGLE BY MANNY RAMIREZ SCORED COCO CRISP.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M RAMIREZ ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: DETROIT 0
    BOSTON 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: K YOUKILIS (.333, 4 HR, 18 RBI)

    Tigers vs. Red SoxMay 17 12:50 PM