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Little giant

Red Sox get huge game from Pedroia in opener

Dustin Pedroia grew up idolizing Barry Bonds in Northern California. Julian Tavarez spent three years saying little more than hello to Bonds when they were teammates in San Francisco.

Reintroduced to the controversial slugger in his first game in Boston, Pedroia showed his idol a few things with the first five-hit game of his budding career, driving in five runs, while Tavarez got in the last word with seven strong innings in a 10-2 win over the Giants last night before a crowd of 36,508 in Fenway Park.

Pedroia and J.D. Drew, who had three hits, including a two-run double, combined to go 8 for 9 with 8 RBIs and 5 runs. The rest of the lineup went 1 for 24.

"We're going to talk about baseball, right, not Barry Bonds," said Tavarez, who is undefeated in his last six starts after giving up two first-inning runs, then nothing more, while the Sox scored seven runs (six earned) against Barry Zito, the free agent prize Theo Epstein eschewed in favor of Daisuke Matsuzaka. "I'm sick and tired of hearing about Barry Bonds since we got back from the road trip."

Despite spotting the Giants a designated hitter -- David Ortiz was ejected by plate umpire Tony Randazzo after angrily throwing down his helmet and bat following a first-inning strikeout -- the Sox prevailed behind mini-me Pedroia, who hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first after Bonds narrowly missed going deep in the top of the inning.

Pedroia singled in his next three at-bats and finished with a two-run double. Drew was hit by a pitch, singled twice, and hit a two-run double before flying out in his last at-bat.

"I was excited all day," said Pedroia, whose five-hit game was the first by a Sox rookie since Brian Daubach Aug. 14, 1999, against Seattle. "Playing against the Giants, seeing Barry, it was awesome."

If Drew was excited about his big night after hearing boos the night before, he may have saved it for the ride home. He was gone before the clubhouse was opened to interlopers.

"It just shows when guys play up to their capabilities, we've really got a balanced lineup," said third baseman Mike Lowell. "We didn't have David for the whole game, Manny [Ramírez] really didn't do much, those are the guys everyone fears, but we can still hurt you. We didn't have much offense besides J.D. and Dustin, and we still put 10 runs up on the board.

"It's a good sign. I'm happy for J.D. He's had a little bad luck and hasn't been swinging the bat the way he wanted."

Bonds, who was given a standing boo and heard chants of "Ster-oids" throughout the night, nearly had the 748th home run of his storied career, but his long drive in the first drifted just to the right of the foul pole, a call that left Bonds unconvinced. "I was blowing it foul," said Tavarez, who also gave it some Tavarez-like body language, waving vigorously. "I got lucky -- I got help from the fans, too -- and then I got him to pop out."

Bonds popped out to second, drew an intentional walk with first base open in the third, and grounded out to second against an exaggerated shift in the sixth, all against Tavarez. In his last at-bat, against lefthanded reliever Hideki Okajima in the eighth, Bonds lined a 2-and-0 pitch into right field for a single.

The game began with an embracing ovation for Dave Roberts, the Giants center fielder whose stolen base for the Red Sox in Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series was rated the most exciting play of his managing career by Terry Francona.

"Barry asked me, 'Is it always like this?' " Roberts said. "I said, 'Well, when we play the Yankees, it's like that.' It felt like a playoff environment and these fans really appreciate a winner, appreciate effort. It was definitely special and it lived up to all of my expectations, for sure."

When the cheers subsided, Roberts singled and came around to score on a double by local boy Mark Sweeney, playing for the first time in Fenway in his 13-year career. Sweeney advanced to third on an infield out and scored on a two-out wild pitch.

But Zito opened the Sox' first by hitting Drew in the sleeve with a pitch, then served a home run ball to Pedroia, who went deep for the third time this season and first time in 51 at-bats.

The Sox took a 3-2 lead in the third. Drew and Pedroia singled and Wily Mo Peña, who had replaced Ortiz, drew a walk to load the bases. Ramírez ran hard enough to beat out a double-play ball while Drew scored. The rally went no further as Kevin Youkilis grounded into a double play.

The Sox scored three runs in the fourth, Lowell salvaging the rally when it appeared the Sox had run themselves out of the inning. Lowell was on third and Julio Lugo on first with two outs when Zito caught Lugo breaking for second and threw to first baseman Sweeney. Sweeney ran toward third, where Lowell had been caught in no-man's land, but threw a hair late to the bag as Lowell eluded the tag with a hook slide. Lugo made it to second safely, credited with a stolen base, Drew followed with a double to the wall in center for two runs, and Pedroia followed with an RBI base hit to make it 6-2.

So, someone asked Lowell, did you think you would be . . . "out?" Lowell said helpfully. "Absolutely. Then I put it into another gear."

And what gear would that be?

"Second," he said. "There's only two."

Tavarez allowed only four hits after the first. He left a runner stranded on third with his signature bowling play, rolling a strike to first baseman Youkilis after fielding Randy Winn's two-out tapper in the fifth.

"That was a good play," Francona said. "That might have been the only way he could get him. There are other times we don't try to figure him out."

Tavarez said he got along fine with Bonds when he was with the Giants.

"He'd say, 'What's up?' but he didn't say much, to me or anyone else," Tavarez said. "He didn't need to say much.

"I ain't going to say anything bad about Barry. He's hit [747] home runs, always played real hard, always worked hard."

Gordon Edes can be reached at