As I wrote last night's lineup into my scoresheet, I thought That is a great lineup. It won't be long before they start scoring runs in big bunches. ... Nope, not long at all. Maybe thirty minutes.
Boston battered Hideo Nomo for seven runs in the second inning, en route to a 10-0 Friday night whitewash of the Devil Rays. One of the three hits in the inning (Nomo walked four) was a grand slam by David Ortiz, a line shot down the right field line.
Nomo threw 46 pitches in the inning and was actually left in to start the third. Only after Edgar Renteria tripled and scored on an error and Jason Varitek singled was he pulled. Former Sox lefty Casey Fossum came in and pitched very well, allowing only one hit and two walks in four innings. It was his first appearance against his former team.
On the home side, David Wells pitched seven solid innings in his Fenway debut. He allowed the leadoff man to reach in the second, fourth and sixth innings, but no Tampa runner reached third base all night. Matt Mantei and John Halama each pitched an inning of relief.
It looks like Edgar Renteria has relaxed. He singled and tripled and made two nice plays in the field, leaping and throwing on a double play in the second and spearing Carl Crawford's line drive before it went into center field in the third. ... Mark Bellhorn had two doubles and a walk in four trips and pinch-hitter David McCarty singled in the final two runs in the seventh.
The Orioles also had a seven-run inning last night -- against the Yankees. Bruce Chen -- another former Sock -- pitched a complete game, four-hitter as Baltimore won 8-1.
It was a great night for complete games. Out in Los Angeles, Derek Lowe allowed only three soft singles in a 4-0 blanking of San Diego. Lowe also drove in two runs. ... Aaron Heilman pitched a one-hitter for the Mets -- giving up an infield hit in the fourth -- as New York beat Florida 4-0.
According to Newsday, Gary Sheffield "answered questions about the incident for nearly 10 minutes [but] wouldn't say what he thought of the play after watching the replay Friday for the first time." Sheffield: "I didn't know all that took place in that short period of time. You've got to look at the tape. You have to pass your own judgment. I can't sit here and try to convince you one way or another." ... Either Sheffield is less confident that he was actually struck by the fan or simply doesn't want to (or was advised not to) talk about this anymore. Or both.
MLB opened an investigation into the incident, which should be complete by early next week. Torre said he would be surprised if Sheffield received a suspension. The Post's George King said that sources have told him there will be no suspension.
Speaking of Torre, Filip Bondy of the Daily News calls bullshit on the Yankee manager's version of events: "The gravest transgression at Fenway on Thursday had not been the inadvertent collision between a Boston fan's arm and Gary Sheffield's face in right field. The real misdemeanor was gross exaggeration, arguably downright fabrication, by Torre himself. The Yankee manager was guiltier than anyone in this matter of distorting the facts, creating a furor and possibly inciting worse incidents in the future. ... Torre should have known better yesterday, calmed things down a bit, yet he would not backtrack."
Trot Nixon: "I'm not upset with our fans. But now it's something I'm gonna have to deal with when we go back to New York." Dan Shaughnessy writes: "Nixon will probably need his batting helmet and rain gear the next time he backs up to the right-field wall" in the Bronx. ... Thankfully, we know that if Nixon ends up near the Yankee Stadium stands and is brushed (or thinks he is brushed) by a fan and attempts to punch the Yankee fan with both hands, all the pinstriped yahoos saying Sheffield did the right thing and showed admirable restraint will immediately rush to Nixon's defense with similar comments. ... Right?
Wade Miller makes his second rehab start Monday in Wilmington, NC, and will join the Red Sox in Baltimore on Wednesday. ... The Daily News reports that the lawyers for New York city and state and the Yankees are completing a "memorandum of understanding" for a new "retro" ballpark in the Bronx. The proposed new park would hold about 7,000 fewer fans that the current Yankee Stadium does. Meanwhile, Fenway continues to expand.
By the way, anyone else out there keep score at home, either while watching TV or listening to the radio?