Another grand slam by Drew leads Red Sox to win over Yomiuri

Updated: March 23, 2008, 12:23 PM ET
Associated Press

TOKYO -- Before the game, J.D. Drew watched a replay on the scoreboard of his grand slam in Game 6 of last year's AL Championship Series.

[+] EnlargeJ.D. Drew
AP Photo/Koji SasaharaJ.D. Drew, center, hit a grand slam in the sixth inning Sunday. The home run was his second in as many exhibition games in Japan this weekend.

Then he hit another one that meant much less.

Still, his second homer in two exhibition games was a good sign Sunday night that he's ready for a strong start to his second season with the Boston Red Sox. That begins Tuesday night with the first of two games at the Tokyo Dome against the Oakland Athletics.

"I'm just going to keep a positive attitude, try to take good quality at bats and pick up where I left off last season," Drew said after the 9-2 exhibition win over the Yomiuri Giants on their home field. "Hopefully, we can just roll into a good start of the season."

Drew's grand slam in the sixth inning, five months after his homer against Cleveland in the ALCS, gave Boston its first lead in the win that was a homecoming for reliever Hideki Okajima.

Boston's left-hander had spent 11 of his 12 seasons in Japan with the Giants before signing with the Red Sox prior to last season. His 2.22 ERA with Boston was lower than any he posted in nine full seasons with Yomiuri.

He relieved Bryan Corey, who played for the Giants in 2004, with a 4-2 lead entering the bottom of the seventh, allowed one hit and retired the side on a fly out and a double play grounder in his only inning.

Okajima's pitches from the familiar mound were greeted by camera flashes from the crowd.

"That was a feel good moment for us," manager Terry Francona said. "I was actually going to take him out so the fans could have a moment to appreciate it, but then there was a double play."

Drew had hit a three-run homer in the first inning of Saturday's 6-5 exhibition win over the Hanshin Tigers.

Sunday's blast was reminiscent of his homer off Fausto Carmona after he had struggled for most of the season and throughout the playoffs. The Red Sox won that Game 12-2 to even the ALCS, then completed its comeback from a 3-1 deficit against Cleveland.

Drew then went 5-for-15 in Boston's sweep of Colorado in the World Series.

Sunday's grand slam gave Boston a 4-2 lead in the sixth against Adrian Burnside, who spent the past 12 seasons in the minors, the last in the San Diego system.

Boston starter Tim Wakefield allowed two runs in five innings on an RBI single by Seung-Youp Lee in the first and a double-play grounder in the fourth.

"He could have stayed out there. We wanted to try to get all of our guys work," Francona said. "Whether it's exhibition or the regular season, Wake gives you a chance to win. It never fails."

The Red Sox added three runs in the eighth on Jed Lowrie's homer and Brandon Moss' two-run single. They made it 9-2 in the ninth on Coco Crisp's RBI triple and Alex Cora's run-scoring single.

In Sunday's first exhibition game at the Tokyo Dome, Oakland beat Hanshin 10-2.

Notes

Former Cleveland Indians outfielder Alex Ramirez hit cleanup for the Giants and went 1-for-4. He spent the last seven seasons with the Yakult Swallows, named for a yogurt company, and led Japan pro baseball last year in hits, doubles and RBIs. ... Seth Greisinger, Detroit's first-round draft pick in 1996, started and pitched two scoreless innings for Yomiuri.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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