Lowell has Monster debut at Fenway

Lowell has Monster debut at Fenway

BOSTON -- As it turned out, Mike Lowell made it through his Fenway Park debut Tuesday smelling like a rose and baby-fresh clean. Only 24 hours earlier, teammate David Ortiz had warned all the new Red Sox players that they might want to consider a diaper as insurance against any Opening Day jitters.

Ortiz kept the advice limited to baseball on game day, and Lowell obviously paid attention, matching career highs with four hits and three doubles helping to power the Red Sox over the Blue Jays, 5-3. All four hits went to left field, including his first of many anticipated wall-ball doubles off the Green Monster in the eighth inning.

"Actually, we were talking about hitting way before the game, and I was telling him that sometimes right-handed hitters get confused with the Green Monster and was telling him not to get caught in between," said Ortiz in relating his conversation with Lowell. "Stay to the middle [of the field]. If you see an inside pitch, you pull it, you do whatever you have to do, but don't be thinking about it too much, otherwise it will get you in trouble."

"I don't want to get too pull happy just because I'm a pull hitter," Lowell said after his first home game. "For me, if I stay middle [of the field], it allows me to keep the ball straight and not hook it. I have to tune out the wall really and let it happen if it happens. I've heard a lot of people where that wall has driven them crazy, because you see it so close. You still have to hit it. It's not like you can hit a pop fly to short."

And hit it he did with regularity Tuesday before an adoring crowd of 34,491. The buzz in the crowd and at his new home field definitely wasn't lost on Lowell, who has two World Series rings to his credit with Florida in 1997 and 2003.

"It felt like it was playing in the playoffs with the Marlins," he said. "This feels like it might be 81 playoff games, just that energy and as a player that's a good feeling. You don't prepare any differently but you feel differently."

His manager wasn't picky about where his hits were falling Tuesday.

"I think he looked out and saw that wall and [felt] like he could reach it without his best bolt," Sox manager Terry Francona said. "I'm sure that is very reassuring to get rewarded, because he is a big, strong kid and he pulls the ball a lot. Watching him running out of the [batter's] box, he is running as fast as he can, because he knows those are possibly either outs or singles."

Tuesday also marked Lowell's fifth career four-hit game and his fourth career game with three doubles. Four of his eight hits this year are doubles. If that continues, last year's .236 average and eight home runs will quickly be forgotten.

"Mikey Lowell is a great player and one of the smartest players I've ever played with," said starter Josh Beckett, who knows a thing or two about his third baseman from his days with the Marlins. "Probably the smartest player I've ever played with. He's going to be fine. Everybody's talking about last year, but what about the five years before that? Are you going to tell me that the five years before that was a fluke and last year was what he really is? You'll never convince me of that."

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.