Booming response from Sox's offense

Booming response from Sox's offense

BOSTON -- Before the game started, the talk was about a suspension. Once the Red Sox and Yankees started playing baseball, there was no suspense.

The man who was handed the six-game suspension just a few hours before the first pitch and immediately appealed it -- Sox left-hander David Wells -- was just one of a multitude of reasons this game was never close. The Red Sox rose quickly from the depths of Curt Schilling's rough debut as the closer Thursday night and flattened the Yankees by a score of 17-1.

Schilling could rest up on Friday night, knowing full well that his teammates had this one well in hand.

"We'd take a win any way we can, but it was nice to be able to have some offensive success and also we got some guys out of there," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who rested Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Bill Mueller and Jason Varitek for the late innings.

The 16-run romp matched the most lopsided victory the Red Sox have ever had against their long-time rivals, matching the identical 17-1 walloping the Sox put on the Yankees in New York on May 28.

While Wells (seven innings, five hits, one run, five strikeouts) was clearly in top form, the Boston bats allowed him to put his left arm in cruise control.

"You always go out there and take it as a 0-0 ballgame or a 1-0 ballgame and just pitch and try to hit your spots," said Wells. "You try to utilize every pitch that you have."

The Yankees wished they had anyone who could have done that very thing on Friday night, but it wasn't to be. A day after learning that solid right-hander Chien-Mieng Wang might be lost for the year, the Yankees sent an emergency starter (Tim Redding) to the mound -- and it showed.

The Red Sox ripped Redding (one inning plus three batters, four hits, six runs, four walks) and then mashed Darrell May (2 2/3 innings, six hits, six runs, three walks).

Damon (3-for-3, two runs, two doubles, two RBIs and a walk in his first four plate appearances) had yet another big game from the leadoff spot, extending his hitting streak to 27 games, tying him with Dom DiMaggio for the fifth-longest streak in Red Sox history.

And Trot Nixon, who has come out blazing in the second half, belted a line-drive to medium depth center field in the second inning that wound up being an inside-the-park three-run homer. Yankees center fielder Melky Cabrera tried to make a lunging grab, but instead, the ball zipped right past him and all the way to the end of the warning track. Nixon never stopped sprinting and scored easily for his first career inside-the-parker and first by the Red Sox since Pokey Reese's memorable dash against the Royals on May 8, 2004.

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Yankees Coverage
Leiter, long balls lift Yankees past Sox
Yankees' dynamic duo getting it done
Notes: Small gets the call to rotation
Season Series
• 07/17: Yankees 5, Red Sox 3
• 07/16: Yankees 7, Red Sox 4
• 07/15: Red Sox 17, Yankees 1
• 07/14: Yankees 8, Red Sox 6

• 05/29: Red Sox 7, Yankees 2
• 05/28: Red Sox 17, Yankees 1
• 05/27: Yankees 6, Red Sox 3

• 04/14: Red Sox 8, Yankees 5
• 04/13: Yankees 5, Red Sox 2
• 04/11: Red Sox 8, Yankees 1

• 04/06: Red Sox 7, Yankees 3
• 04/05: Yankees 4, Red Sox 3
• 04/03: Yankees 9, Red Sox 2

"Against anybody, it's a feat for me," said Nixon. "I'm not really fleet of foot like Johnny. It may look ugly, but I'll take it."

Francona looked at the fluky homer as a turning point in the game.

"The ball Trot Nixon hit -- it's 5-0," said Francona. "That potentially is not even a sac fly because Cabrera's coming in and David [Ortiz] may not be able to tag. Trot leaves the batter's box like you're supposed to and we end up getting three."

Wells had an 8-0 lead when he took the mound for the third.

In the sixth, Ortiz smashed a grand slam to right field of Buddy Groom, New York's fourth pitcher of the night.

"I think David is very effective against everybody," said Nixon. "It's a pleasure to be able to play with him. He's a phenomenal hitter. To watch him grow as a hitter here in Fenway Park, this ballpark is made for him because he can drive the ball out to all parts of the field. "

Yankees manager Joe Torre had a fairly helpless feeling from the visiting dugout.

"It's just an indication of what this club can do to you when you don't pitch," Torre said. "We just didn't have the answer tonight for their type of ballclub."

Not with the effortless way Wells was working. Boomer knew what to do with the big lead. He pounded the strike zone, taking a two-hitter into the sixth.

"David Wells did a great job with the lead," said Francona. "He got some early outs, he's efficient."

As comfortable a victory as this was for the Sox, they know it doesn't amount to much when Matt Clement takes on Randy Johnson on Saturday afternoon.

"The most important thing is we got the win," Nixon said. "These guys are right on our heels in the division. It's always a big series when we play each other. It's just good to get the win."

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.