youk614.gifGarrett Atkins and Kaz Matsui each had three hits and Jeff Francis pitched 5 shut out innings as the Rockies beat up the Red Sox, 7-1 at Fenway Park. Atkins fell a triple short of a cycle as he singled in the first, hit a grand slam in the third and doubled in the fifth.

Matsui added a pair of singles, a double and scored two runs. Matt Holiday also had two hits including a solo homerun and this all added up to a very messy performance for Josh Beckett.

Beckett wasn’t as sharp in the first inning as he has been in the past and the Rockies took advantage and nicked the hard throwing right hander for a quick run. With one out, former Met Matsui blooped a double into shallow centerfield. It was a ball that only Dustin Pedroia could make a play on and he nearly caught it but Matsui hustled into second. Holiday then bounced out to Julio Lugo but that was followed up with a RBI single to center by perennial all-star Todd Helton. Beckett wasn’t out of trouble yet though as Atkins singled high off the wall in left sending Helton to third but Beckett got out of it with no further damage by getting Brad Hawpe to fly out to J.D.
Drew in right.

The Sox threatened in the home half of the second against Rockies starter Jeff Francis. Mike Lowell singled to left, Jason Varitek whiffed, Coco Crisp worked a walk and Lugo reached on the second error of the year charged to Helton to load the bases. The slumping Drew batting in the lead off spot came up in a RBI situation with the sacks juiced and smoked a line drive to a diving Matsui. Pedroia then struck out on a ball in the dirt and the Sox came up empty.

Colorado came right back in third against Beckett, Matsui singled to left, Holiday followed with a gap double to center and Helton walked to load the bases. Atkins then pounded a 3-1 fastball into the Monster Seats for a grand slam home run and 5-0 Rockies lead. Hawpe then grounded out to Lugo, Ryan Spilborghs fouled out to Kevin Youkilis and then Yorvit Torrealba singled past a diving Youkilis to right. Troy Tulowitzki then hit into a fielder’s choice to Lugo to end the inning but the Rockies had done some major damage.

While Beckett was struggling, Colorado’s Francis was cruising through the first three innings yielding just two hits with two walks, while striking out a half dozen including Youkilis twice.

Beckett gave up another run in the fourth, with two out Holiday hit a solo jack into the Monster Seats to give Colorado a 6-0 lead. With that Tommy Lasorda who was visiting in the booth said “well you needed six to take the lead now you can tie them”. Uh ya, thanks for the bulletin pasta man.

The Sox tried to get something going in the fourth with one out Varitek singled to left, Crisp fouled out to Helton right in front of the Boston dug out. Lugo followed with an infield single to put runners at first and second but Drew grounded out to Helton to end any semblance of a threat.

The Rox came out swinging the lumber again in the fifth with a lead off double by Atkins off the wall in left for his third hit in three trips. He couldn’t get any further than third as Beckett worked around the double with some fine defensive help from Pedroia and sent the Rockies back into the field no additional runs.

Boston put a couple of runners on in the fifth, David Ortiz walked for the second time in the game and Manny followed with a single to center. Francis then put down Youkilis and Lowell and that was that.

After Kyle Snyder gave up a harmless two out single to Matsui in the sixth, the Sox came out swinging. Back to back singles by Varitek and Crisp to start the inning chased Francis for Jorge Julio. Francis went 5 plus giving up 7 hits, with two walks and 6 K’s. Julio got Lugo to fly out to center for the first out, Drew came up again with runners in scoring position for the third time tonight struck out looking and started to hear the cat calls from the Fenway Faithful. Pedroia then hit into a fielder’s choice to Matsui to kill yet another chance for some runs.

In the seventh the Sox tried to get something going against reliever Tom Martin. Ortiz whiffed, Ramirez followed with his second knock of the game a hard hit single to left to chase Martin and bring in LaTroy Hawkins to face Youkilis. Youk hit into a fielder’s choice to Atkins at third moving Manny to second with two out. Lowell singled to center and Spilborghs came up throwing but Ramirez got in under the tag of Torrealba to put the Sox on the board. Varitek then struck out to leave Lowell at first.

Snyder had a 1-2-3 seventh and was replaced by Mike Timlin for the eighth. Timlin promptly walked Spilborghs, then gave up a single to Torrealba. Troy Tulowitzki then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position and Spilborghs came home on Willie Tavares RBI fielder’s choice ground out to Lugo to make it 7-1. Matsui then struck out to end the inning.

The Sox mounted a two out attack in the ninth against Rockies closer Brian Fuentes who was on in a non-save situation. With two out Manny walked, then Youkilis extended his hitting streak to 5 games with a single to center. But Lowell struck out to end the game and give the Rockies 2 out of the three games in the series.

Notes and Musings:

J.D. Drew hit lead off for the first time since 2004. Drew has lead
off 37 games in his career and has a .250 BA with 5 HR’s and 13 RBI.

David Ortiz has gone 86 Fenway at bats with out a home run.

Red Sox are 5-4 in interleague play in 2007 after going 16-2 in 2006.

Prior to this series they had won their last 11 series against National League teams.

Heading into tonight’s game Manny Ramirez in 140 interleague games has a .307 BA, 43 HR’s and 131 RBI. Only Carlos Delgado has more interleague RBI with 135. And Manny is third in interleague HR’s behind Jim Thome (52) and Delgado (44).

The last major league pitcher to start a season 10-0 was Roger Clemens for Toronto in 1997. Beckett is now 9-1.

Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda and Michael Milken were in the booth in the fourth inning promoting fundraising for prostate cancer. I think Lasorda may have been drunk. He made absolutely no sense at all.

President Remy and Don Orsillo had great fun with another edition of Sox Appeal that was being taped. The poor guy on the date was doing all sorts of bobbing and weaving leading to speculation he was nervous or possibly avoiding headshots. This then led to a discussion of pick up lines such as “How ya doin’?” and “are your legs tired? Because you been running around in my mind all day.” This is all the more reason as to why anyone would want to do this show knowing you maybe on camera fodder for those two.

The Red Sox today announced the signing of 10 players selected in last week’s 2007 MLB 1st Year Player Draft:

Rd Player Pos School Team
8 Adam Mills RHP UNC-Charlotte Lowell
10 Kenneth Roque SS Puerto Rico BB Academy GCL
20 Daniel Miliano C Northeastern Univ. Lowell
22 William Latimer LHP Trinidad St. JC GCL
26 Deshaun Brooks 3B Benedict College Lowell
30 Will Vazquez C Kent St. Univ. GCL
31 Daniel Buller LHP Fresno CC GCL
34 Anthony Bajoczky RHP Duke Univ. GCL
44 Emmanuel Solano SS Miami Dade CC South GCL
45 Peter Gilardo C Dominican College GCL

The Rockies have not lost consecutive games in the month of June. They have won 15 out of their last 21 games.

The Rockies matched a franchise record with by winning their fourth consecutive road series by beating the BoSox.

Rockies starter Jeff Francis had never pitched against Boston before tonight.

Francis is 34-8 when the Rockies score 3 or more runs for him.

Matt Holiday leads the majors with 95 hits. Only Holiday and Derek Jeter have multiple hit streaks of 14+ games this year.

Up next Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants. It is the Giants first visit to Fenway as a franchise since the 1912 World Series when the club was in New York.