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Damon homers twice as Red Sox hold off Blue Jays

SportsLine.com wire reports
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TORONTO -- The Boston Red Sox are happy to be heading home with a winning record.

Johnny Damon homered twice and Trot Nixon drove in four runs as Boston held off Toronto 8-7 Thursday night to snap the Blue Jays' five-game winning streak.

Johnny Damon gets his second stolen base and his first two homers. 
Johnny Damon gets his second stolen base and his first two homers.(AP) 
The Red Sox, who finished 6-4 on their season-opening 10-game road trip, play Baltimore in their home opener at Fenway Park on Friday.

"We were hoping to go home 8-2," Damon said. "Of course, we wish we were better, but we'll take it."

Boston is the last team in the majors to open at home besides the Expos, who "host" the New York Mets in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Friday and don't play in Montreal until April 22.

There's just one problem for the Red Sox - rain is expected Friday in Boston, which could mean a day-night doubleheader Saturday.

The Red Sox led 8-4 entering the bottom of the ninth, but Carlos Delgado's two-run homer off Mike Timlin cut it to 8-7.

With most other relievers in the Boston bullpen struggling, Timlin (1-0) went the final 2 2/3 innings for the win.

"I gave up three runs in the ninth. It didn't mean a thing, we still won," Timlin said.

Nixon's tiebreaking two-run shot in the eighth inning off Cliff Politte (0-1) gave Boston a 6-4 lead. Nixon went 3-for-3 with a walk for the Red Sox, who avoided a three-game sweep.

"We were just fortunate enough to tack on four runs at the end of the game. We needed it," Nixon said. "I think we are tired and weary. I know we have only played 10 games, but we've been on the road the whole time."

Damon had three hits, three RBI and three runs scored. He homered off Roy Halladay in the third and gave Boston an 8-4 lead in the ninth with a two-run shot off Trever Miller. It was Damon's fifth career two-homer game.

"We're just pleased to get out of here with a win," manager Grady Little said.

Manny Ramirez was 0-for-5, ending his career-high hitting streak at 22 games.

Halladay struck out 10 in seven innings, becoming the first Toronto pitcher to strike out 10 or more since he fanned 11 on Sept. 19, 2001, against the Baltimore Orioles. The right-hander gave up four runs -- three earned -- and seven hits, walking one.

"It's a game we had a chance to win," Halladay said. "We took two of three, so we have to feel good about the way we played this series."

Boston starter John Burkett allowed four runs -- three earned -- and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked five.

"It was a big-time team effort that gets us home 6-4," Burkett said.

After Shea Hillenbrand doubled with two outs in the eighth, Nixon homered off Politte.

Chris Woodward had two RBI for the Blue Jays.

Damon singled, advanced to third on a grounder and scored on Nomar Garciaparra's sacrifice fly in the first. Nixon hit an RBI double in the second.

Woodward had an RBI infield single in the bottom half.

Damon led off the third with his first homer, giving Boston a 3-1 lead.

After Burkett walked Eric Hinske and Orlando Hudson in the fourth, Hinske scored on Garciaparra's fielding error at shortstop and Ken Huckaby hit an RBI single, tying it at 3.

Nixon's RBI single in the sixth gave Boston the lead again, but Woodward hit an RBI double in the bottom half.

Notes

  • Delgado has three homers and 13 RBI in the last four games.
  • Singer-bassist Geddy Lee of the band Rush attended the game.


AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
 
 
 
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Johnny Damon, CF5333000 .256
Todd Walker, 2B5010010 .256
Nomar Garciaparra, SS4001020 .304
Manny Ramirez, DH5000010 .302
Kevin Millar, 1B4220020 .394
    Bill Mueller, 3B0000000 .235
Shea Hillenbrand, 3B-1B4110000 .282
Trot Nixon, RF3134100 .379
Jason Varitek, C4000030 .286
Damian Jackson, LF4110020 .222
Totals3881181110 
Batting
2B - Kevin Millar (4, Halladay), Shea Hillenbrand (5, Politte)
HR - Johnny Damon 2 (2, Halladay, Miller), Trot Nixon (1, Politte)
SF - Nomar Garciaparra (1)
RBI - Johnny Damon 3 (5), Nomar Garciaparra (8), Trot Nixon 4 (4)
2-OUT RBI - Trot Nixon 2 (2)
SB - Johnny Damon (2, 2nd base off Halladay/Huckaby), Shea Hillenbrand (1, off Halladay/Huckaby), Trot Nixon 2 (2, 2nd base off Halladay/Huckaby, 2nd base off Halladay/Huckaby)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Walker-Garciaparra
E - Nomar Garciaparra (2, Misplayed grounder), Trot Nixon (1, Bobble)
John Burkett 6.1543510 3.18
Mike Timlin (W,1-0) 2.2533021 4.70
Pitches-Strikes - John Burkett 105-58, Mike Timlin 33-25
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Burkett 8-10, Mike Timlin 3-3
Batters Faced - John Burkett 29, Mike Timlin 13
Shannon Stewart, LF5110000 .289
Frank Catalanotto, RF4010110 .333
Vernon Wells, CF4111100 .289
Carlos Delgado, 1B5132000 .361
Josh Phelps, DH2100100 .200
   a- Greg Myers, PH-DH2000010 .294
Eric Hinske, 3B4110100 .138
Orlando Hudson, 2B3210100 .214
Chris Woodward, SS4022000 .323
Ken Huckaby, C3001000 .100
   b- Tom Wilson, PH-C1000010 .250
Totals377106530 
a-struck out for Phelps in the 7th
b-struck out for Huckaby in the 8th
Batting
2B - Eric Hinske (4, Timlin), Chris Woodward (2, Burkett)
HR - Carlos Delgado (4, Timlin)
RBI - Vernon Wells (15), Carlos Delgado 2 (13), Chris Woodward 2 (4), Ken Huckaby (1)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Woodward 2 (2)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Orlando Hudson (3, Missed catch), Chris Woodward (3, Misplayed grounder)
Roy Halladay 77431101 3.66
Cliff Politte (L,0-1) 1222011 5.79
Trever Miller 0.1222001 6.75
Aquilino Lopez 0.2000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Halladay 110-70, Cliff Politte 31-21, Trever Miller 8-5, Aquilino Lopez 8-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Halladay 7-5, Cliff Politte 1-1, Trever Miller 1-0, Aquilino Lopez 1-1
Batters Faced - Roy Halladay 30, Cliff Politte 5, Trever Miller 3, Aquilino Lopez 2
Attendance - 13779
Game Time - 2:42
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Mike Reilly, First Base - Bill Hohn, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Tim Timmons