for this game

Ortiz, Lester lead Red Sox past Athletics

Apr 3, 2008 - 12:27 AM By Al Barba PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- David Ortiz broke out in a big way Wednesday afternoon.

Ortiz singled in the fifth inning for his first hit of the year and homered in his next at-bat, leading the Boston Red Sox to a 5-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

A four-time All-Star, Ortiz snapped a scoreless tie in the seventh inning, crushing an 0-1 fastball from Alan Embree (0-1) over the wall in right-center field for a two-run homer.

Ortiz's blast made a winner of Jon Lester (1-1), who bounced back from a loss in his season debut a week ago in Japan and became the first Boston lefthander to record a victory in Oakland since Zane Smith registered a 9-6 win over Dave Stewart on May 29, 1995.

Lester allowed three hits, walked three and struck out three in 6 2/3 innings.

"Strike one. That was the main thing," Lester said. "It puts the hitter on the defense when you get ahead, and I did a better job of that today. I think my tempo was a little better than before and, obviously, the results were a little bit better."

Boston strung together five consecutive singles in the eighth inning to extend its lead to 4-0.

Dustin Pedroia, who had a pair of hits, and Kevin Youkilis had run-scoring singles. Youkilis also had two hits in the matinee contest, concluding the series with a .400 average (6-for-15).

Jason Varitek capped the scoring with a two-out solo homer in the ninth.

"This is a great offensive team," Lester said. "Pitchers really don't have to do too much except keep your team in the mix. If you keep it within striking distance, you're going to get more wins than not."

The A's received another solid outing from starter Rich Harden, who allowed four hits, walked six and struck out six in five scoreless innings. In his season-opening start against the Red Sox in Japan last week, the righthander earned a win after striking out nine in six terrific innings.

"I feel good so far," Harden said. "I just want to build on what we've done the last couple of games, and I think so far, I felt pretty good working with (catcher) Kurt Suzuki.

"I probably could've thrown another 20-30 pitches, but there's no point in really pushing yourself early in the season. That's something the A's have always done. They've limited pitch counts early in the season all in the way from the minor leagues up to the big leagues. But as the season goes on, yeah, you're going to see us go a lot more pitches."

It appeared as if Boston would get to Harden early on Wednesday, as it loaded the bases with none out in the first inning. However, Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell struck out and J.D. Drew, in his first at-bat of the season, grounded out to first to end the frame.

Drew was making his 2008 debut after missing the season's first three games with a back strain. It was his first appearance since playing in an exhibition game against the Yomiuri Giants in Japan on March 23.

Over the first five innings, Boston put multiple runners on base three times but was unable to score, as Harden worked out of trouble by getting a strikeout in key situations.

Lester kept Oakland's bats silent, as three of the four hits he surrendered were singles. The lone extra-base hit he allowed was a one-out double by Daric Barton in the first inning.

That enabled the Red Sox to stay in the game until their offense could get untracked. Youkilis, who had been a catalyst in the series, opened the seventh with a double to left field before Ortiz homered.

"Regardless of what David does in his first three games, he always has that one swing in his bat," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He knows that, and I'm sure they do, too.

"Last night, he was lifting a little bit, and today, he started staying through the ball. He's strong enough where when he puts the head on the ball, he can drive one out of the ballpark, and we needed that today."

Defensively, Youkilis broke the major league record for consecutive errorless games at first base. He eclipsed the previous mark of 194 originally set by San Diego's Steve Garvey from June 26, 1983-April 14, 1985.

Youkilis' last error at first base came on July 4, 2006 at Tampa Bay.

"He's done a good job and has worked hard," Francona said. "It gives us something to brag about."

Oakland was limited to just seven hits in the two games at McAfee Coliseum.

"A few guys need to make some adjustments, obviously," Athletics manager Bob Geren said. "They had good springs and they'll be fine. We're pitching well and a few guys are struggling a little bit at the plate the last few days. A day off and some swings on Friday, they'll be fine."








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

    BATTERIES: BOS - JON LESTER, BRYAN COREY (7TH), MANNY DELCARMEN (9TH) AND JASON
    VARITEK
    OAK - RICH HARDEN, ANDREW BROWN (6TH), ALAN EMBREE
    (6TH), LENNY DINARDO (8TH), SANTIAG

    Apr 2 6:37 PM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JASON VARITEK (1) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 9TH OFF HUSTON STREET.
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 5, OAKLAND 0
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: C CRISP (.364, 2-FOR-4)

    Red Sox 5, Athletics 0  Top 9, 0 OutsApr 2 6:26 PM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY KEVIN YOUKILIS SCORED COCO CRISP.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, K YOUKILIS ON FIRST, D PEDROIA ON SECOND, A
    CORA ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 4
    OAKLAND 0 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: D ORTIZ (.143, 2-FOR-3, BB, HR, 2 RBI)

    Red Sox 4, Athletics 0  Top 8, 0 OutsApr 2 6:03 PM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DUSTIN PEDROIA SCORED JASON VARITEK.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D PEDROIA ON FIRST, A CORA ON SECOND, C
    CRISP ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 3
    OAKLAND 0 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: K YOUKILIS (.357, 1-FOR-3, BB)

    Red Sox 3, Athletics 0  Top 8, 0 OutsApr 2 5:57 PM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY DAVID ORTIZ (1) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF ALAN EMBREE SCORED KEVIN YOUKILIS.
    CURRENT SCORE: BOSTON 2, OAKLAND 0
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: M RAMIREZ (.267, 0-FOR-2, BB)

    Red Sox 2, Athletics 0  Top 7, 0 OutsApr 2 5:32 PM
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