Red Sox get best of Lopez this time


BALTIMORE (AP) -- Shea Hillenbrand is off to another spectacular
start, and so are the Boston Red Sox.

Hillenbrand homered, doubled twice and had a career-high six
RBIs as the Red Sox beat nemesis Rodrigo Lopez and the Baltimore
Orioles 12-2 Sunday.

Hillenbrand has 15 RBI in seven games, a pace that puts him way
ahead of his 23 RBI last April and the 83 he totaled in 2002.

"The last two years I've been hot. I've come into spring
training prepared and it's just a matter of carrying it on,'' he
said. "Last year I kind of took it into July.''

By winning two of three from Baltimore and going 3-1 at Tampa
Bay, Boston has won its first two road series for only the fifth
time in franchise history.

"We're 5-2. We feel good about that,'' manager Grady Little

Hillenbrand is merely one of several streaking hitters for a
team that has scored an AL-leading 55 runs.

Nomar Garciaparra homered, scored four runs and fell a single
short of the cycle. He doubled in the first inning, tripled in the
third, walked in the fifth and hit a two-run shot in the sixth.

Bidding to become the 20th Boston player to hit for the cycle,
Garciaparra flied out in the eighth.

"I was just thinking about putting the ball in play like I was
all day. Just make contact,'' he said.

Manny Ramirez drove in two runs and extended his hitting streak
to 20 games, matching a career best.

Tim Wakefield (1-0) allowed two runs and four hits in six
innings. The knuckleballer walked three and struck out three.

"It makes my job easier when you have a big lead,'' he said.
"If they can score that many runs for me every time, I'll be

Wakefield is 1-0 with a 5.73 ERA, and teammate Pedro Martinez is
0-0 with an 0.60 ERA in two starts.

"Maybe he's pitching on the wrong day,'' Wakefield said with a

The Red Sox scored eight runs against Lopez (0-1), who went 4-0
with a 2.48 ERA against Boston as a rookie last year. This time, he
yielded nine hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings.

"He threw a lot of strikes; he just didn't have much command of
his pitches,'' manager Mike Hargrove said. "His slider wasn't
working; the only thing he had was his fastball and changeup.''

Lopez was particularly ineffective against Garciaparra, who was
flawless in four trips against the right-hander to improve to

"He is always tough for me, but today I felt like I could not
get him out,'' Lopez said.

Jay Gibbons homered for the Orioles, who went 2-4 on their
opening homestand.

"I'm not pleased with the results, but I'm pleased with the
effort from everyone concerned,'' Hargrove said. "It's something
to build on.''

Up 4-1, the Red Sox pulled away with a four-run fifth. After
Kevin Millar doubled in a run, Lopez issued an intentional walk to
Trot Nixon to load the bases before Hillenbrand grounded a
three-run double inside the third base line.

Garciaparra hit his second home run of the season off Rick Bauer, and Gibbons homered in the Orioles' half.

Hillenbrand capped his big day with a two-run shot off Kerry Ligtenberg in the ninth.

Boston went up 1-0 in the first on successive two-out doubles by
Garciaparra and Ramirez. Doubles by Nixon and Hillenbrand and an
RBI single by Jeremy Giambi made it 3-0 in the second.

Garciaparra led off the third with a triple and scored on a
sacrifice fly by Ramirez. Brook Fordyce doubled in a run in the
Orioles' half.

Game notes
Giambi's RBI single ended a 1-for-16 skid. ... Bauer
retired the first 14 batters he faced this season before walking
Todd Walker ahead of Garciaparra in the sixth. ... Orioles SS Jose Morban made his major league debut, entering as a defensive
replacement in the eighth and going 0-for-1.