Beckett had total command of his fastball, curve and change from the outset and turned in a dominating performance (7-2-1-0-8, 83). He struck out Ichiro swinging three times, all on fastballs away. His only hiccup was two hits to begin the third: Johjima's single to left and Betancourt's double to right (a run scored on an infield grounder). No other Mariner reached base in the first seven innings.
Meanwhile, the Jeff Weaver Face (2-7-7-2-1, 70) was out in force for two innings. The Sox then battered Jake Woods (2-4-4-3-0, 56) and Brandon Marrow (1-1-2-2-0, 26) and led 13-1 after five innings. Six Seattle pitchers threw 196 pitches in eight innings.
Seattle - 16 11 18 8 7 12 11 6 22 - 120Bats: Lugo singled, doubled, walked twice and scored twice -- in four innings. Youkilis doubled twice and singled. Ortiz singled, walked and scored twice. Ramirez singled and walked. Drew homered, scored twice and drove in three. Lowell doubled, knocked in two and scored twice. Varitek singled twice, doubled and knocked in three. Crisp had two RBI. Hinske, who subbed for Manny in the 5th, walked, doubled and scored twice.
Boston - 47 23 26 30 26 14 16 14 x - 196
It was the most runs the Red Sox have scored in a Fenway opener since beating the Yankees 15-5 on April 6, 1973.
Brendan Donnelly relieved Beckett in the 8th. He fanned Jose Guillen on three pitches and must have said something because Guillen started yapping back and both benches and bullpens emptied. BD may have grabbed his crotch a la DLowe; it was hard to tell from the replays, but Guillen did yell "What the fuck are you talking about?"
It was the first time the two players had faced each other, but there is a back story. Guillen was the guy who alerted Nationals manager Frank Robinson to the pine tar on Donnelly's glove last year. (Thanks, Jere.) Don Orsillo noted that when Guillen and BD were teammates in Anaheim in 2004, after Guillen was hit by a pitch, none of the Angels pitchers retaliated. Guillen was annoyed and BD was not pleased at his comments.
After Donnelly plunked Johjima with a 1-1 fastball in the left thigh, he was ejected. Home plate ump Phil Cuzzi was apparently the only guy in Massachusetts who thought that was deliberate.
Okajima finished the inning and Timlin pitched the ninth. He allowed a leadoff single, a two-out walk and a two-run scoring double to Sexson before closing it out.
A very plesant 3:06. Next, it's Matsuzaka, Ichiro and King Felix tomorrow night!
(In the opening ceremonies, Dice and Papelbon received the loudest ovations. Ian Browne writes: "Johnny Pesky got such a loud hand that he appeared to be on the verge of tears as he stood on the first-base line". ... Browne also quotes Tito on when it is appropriate to use Papelbon in the eighth inning: "When we're getting ready to lose.")
Jeff Weaver / Josh Beckett, 2 PM
Fenway Park's 96th Opening Day!
Weaver returns to the AL and makes his 2007 debut.
Update: Mike Timlin was activated and Javier Lopez was sent to Pawtucket. ... Wily Mo Pena will probably start on Thursday. ... RHP J.D. Durbin, claimed on waivers from the Diamondbacks yesterday, will be designated for assignment. If he clears waivers (in 10 days), he'll go to Pawtucket.
Papelbon: "When I was in spring training, starting every fifth day, I was dying a slow death. Once I got a taste of what it was like last year, closing a lead, there was no turning back."