Archive for Saturday, July 31, 2004

Boston cools off Twins

Arroyo masterful in 8-2 decision at Metrodome

July 31, 2004

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— This time, Bronson Arroyo needed only his pitching to inspire his teammates.

Arroyo threw seven-plus sharp innings, Gabe Kapler drove in three runs and the Boston Red Sox ended Minnesota's four-game winning streak with a 8-2 victory on Friday night.

Arroyo (4-7) frustrated the Twins, allowing two runs off eight hits and striking out eight. He looked nothing like the pitcher who lost six straight between May and June.

"Awesome," catcher Jason Varitek said of Arroyo's performance. "One of his better outings. ... We needed that."

Last week, he sparked a bench-clearing brawl at Fenway Park when he hit New York Yankees All-Star Alex Rodriguez with a pitch.

"I won't be thinking about that until I get booed in Yankee Stadium," he said.

The fight resulted in six players being punished, and it gave the Red Sox an emotional charge.

This start went much smoother, and Arroyo's solid pitching was more than enough to fire up his teammates.

"Bronson was amazing tonight," Kapler said.

Despite the win, the Red Sox -- who've won four of their last five games and five of their last seven -- remained 71/2 back of the Yankees, who beat Baltimore, in the AL East.

The Twins, meanwhile, looked nothing like the team that swept the Chicago White Sox this week to take first place in the AL Central.

A lot of that had to do with Arroyo, who was dominant from the start.

Boston starter Bronson Arroyo delivers a pitch against Minnesota.
Arroyo handcuffed the Twins in Boston's 8-2 victory Friday night at
Minneapolis.

Boston starter Bronson Arroyo delivers a pitch against Minnesota. Arroyo handcuffed the Twins in Boston's 8-2 victory Friday night at Minneapolis.

"The second time around (in the order), guys started to make adjustments," Minnesota's Torii Hunter said. "But the game was out of hand by then."

Arroyo gave up an RBI single to Doug Mientkiewicz in the fifth. In the eighth, Mientkiewicz added another RBI to make it 7-2 and Jose Offerman followed with a single with no outs. Arroyo, who didn't walk a batter, was pulled for Alan Embree after he struck out Shannon Stewart on a questionable call.

Embree got out of the inning, and Varitek homered off Aaron Fultz in the ninth to make it 8-2.

"We kept at 'em," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

Keith Foulke worked a scoreless ninth.

Every Red Sox starter reached base to give Arroyo a cushion. David Ortiz went 3-for-5 with two RBIs against his old team.

Boston's 11 hits off starter Kyle Lohse (4-8) tied a season high for the Twins' right-hander, who also walked four batters in one of his worst starts of the season.

Lohse's recent struggles were a prime reason the Twins were interested in Pittsburgh starter Kris Benson. But Benson was traded to the New York Mets on Friday, and Lohse didn't make his team, or its fans, feel better about it.

"I tried to execute every pitch I could, I felt like I did that," Lohse said.

Blue Jays 3, D'Rays 0

St. Petersburg, Fla. -- Josh Towers won his fourth straight start with seven innings of two-hit ball, and Josh Phelps homered twice.

Towers (6-3) walked just one and struck out four before Vinnie Chulk worked a hitless eighth. Jason Frasor pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 14 opportunities. Phelps hit a two-run homer in the fourth and a solo shot two innings later.

Tigers 5, White Sox 4

Detroit -- Bobby Higginson drew a tiebreaking, bases-loaded walk with two out in the eighth inning for the winning run. The game was delayed an hour because of rain.

Damaso Marte (4-4) loaded the bases in the eighth. Alex Sanchez led off with an infield single, Carlos Guillen singled with one out and Rondell White walked with two out to load the bases. Marte then walked Higginson on a 3-2 pitch. Esteban Yan (1-2) recorded two outs for the win, and Ugueth Urbina pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save.

Yankees 2, Orioles 1

New York-- Kevin Brown gave the Yankees a big boost by pitching into the seventh inning in his first start in more than seven weeks, and Alex Rodriguez homered and drove in two runs.

Brown (8-1), activated from the disabled list before the game after being sidelined since June 10 with a lower back spasm and an intestinal parasite, allowed one run and four hits in six-plus innings. He struck out five and walked two, throwing 88 pitches.

Tom Gordon struck out the side in the eighth, and Mariano Rivera recorded three outs for his major league-leading 36th save. Rivera, who blew his previous two chances, has 319 saves, moving him past Rick Aguilera for 10th on the career list -- one behind Roberto Hernandez.

Rangers 7, Athletics 5

Arlington, Texas -- Laynce Nix and Michael Young hit consecutive two-run singles with two out in the bottom of the eighth, helping the Texas Rangers rally from an early four-run deficit.

Oakland starter Rich Harden held Texas hitless until the fourth inning and he left after six with a 4-2 lead.

Rangers closer Francisco Cordero, who on Thursday signed an $8 million, two-year extension, allowed Damian Miller's RBI double in the ninth but stranded him at second for his 31st save in 33 chances.

Angels 6, Mariners 5

Anaheim, Calif. -- Bengie Molina hit a two-run, go-ahead single with two outs in the eighth inning, and Robb Quinlan and Jose Guillen homered.

Molina, whose two-run shot in the ninth tied Thursday night's game before the Mariners won it in the 13th, lined an 0-1 pitch to left-center against J.J. Putz (0-3) to score Garret Anderson and Darin Erstad.

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