League of their own
Red Sox destroy Moyer, Phillies in series opener
When the Red Sox honored their elder statesman in the third inning, Tim Wakefield popped his head out of the dugout and the cheers of the capacity crowd washed over him. In his last outing Tuesday, he defeated the Indians and became the franchise leader in innings pitched. Although Wakefield continues to defy his age (43), the man on the mound for the Phillies wasn’t doing the same.
In fact, Jamie Moyer had already exited the game by that point, yielding to relievers who provided little relief. He got just three outs and allowed nine runs on nine hits. One of only two active pitchers to have thrown more career innings than Wakefield, Moyer only lasted one last night.
Simply put, he had nothing.
“We started early,’’ manager Terry Francona said, after the Sox’ 12-2 win over the Phillies at Fenway Park. “It’s a good way to play. We had a real good approach to Moyer. He didn’t see a lot of balls foul. Squared up balls in the middle of the field, and then when we scored five, we came back in the next inning, kept at it. You score first, and you add on.’’
John Lackey allowed two runs over seven innings, and the Sox were on their way to one of their easiest wins of the season, despite a lineup without Kevin Youkilis or J.D. Drew on a night when yet another outfielder hit the disabled list.
David Ortiz, who had only three hits in 33 at-bats this month, added three more in the first three innings. He had an RBI double in his first two at-bats, followed by a two-run single in the third.
“Stayed on the ball to left field very well,’’ Francona said. “We got contributions all the way from one through nine. And again, against Moyer, you better stay up the middle or you’re going to get the rollover, you’re going to get out front. He’s going to frustrate you. Our guys stayed on him real well.’’
Every member of the starting lineup, except left fielder Bill Hall, had a hit by the end of the third, led by three hits each from Ortiz and Marco Scutaro. The shortstop has been red hot, leaving behind the elbow trouble and the pinched nerve in his neck. The game marked Scutaro’s sixth three-hit game in his last 14. He’s batting .391 in that span.
“I’m feeling better,’’ Scutaro said. “I got my timing back, and I’m seeing the ball better. Just being able to swing the bat, my elbow is much better. That makes me wait for the ball.’’
Mike Lowell struck with a two-run homer in the first inning that capped a five-run frame. It was, perhaps, a good show for the scouts in attendance, who were watching the corner infielder without a real spot on the Sox.
“Whatever you can get early, just get it,’’ Ortiz said. “Everybody knows that Jamie is the kind of pitcher that he knows how to hit both sides of the strike zone.’’
The Phillies, defending National League champions, were so beaten that manager Charlie Manuel removed Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard before the bottom of the fourth, as the Sox rolled in their return to interleague play. At that point the Sox were up by 11, having scored 12 in the first three innings. It was only the fifth time in 620 starts Moyer had gone an inning or less, and marked his shortest outing since lasting an inning for Seattle against Texas July 4, 1998.
It was a needed outburst for the Sox in their return home after a slightly disappointing road trip through Baltimore and Cleveland. After winning four of the first five games, the Sox fell to the Indians in the final two.
The Sox left Moyer battered and bruised, along with the left-field wall.
Nine batters came to the plate in the first inning, with the Sox getting a walk, fielder’s choice, double, double, double, and home run for five runs.
In the second the Sox started with a single, double, double, double, single, to score four more. The third inning added three more, with the big blow coming on Ortiz’s two-run single.
The score was 12-0, the Sox had 14 hits, and the Phillies were facing the reality that they would be emptying their bullpen on the first night of a three-game series.
Lackey was efficient, throwing 86 pitches over seven innings, coming out early with the 10-run lead after having thrown 124 pitches in his last outing.
“The way Lackey was throwing, he was pumping strikes,’’ Francona said.
“Breaking ball was probably the best we’ve seen. Couple times they had runners on, he’d take the out, sacrifice the run, and move on to the next inning. Did a great job.’’
So did the offense.
“I think it was pretty clear that we were clicking on a lot of cylinders today,’’ Lowell said. “We were stringing a lot of hits together, especially in those first three innings. We built up a pretty good cushion.’’