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Red Sox snap Jays' five-game streak

4/10/2003

TORONTO (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox are happy to be heading home
with a winning record.

Johnny Damon homered twice and Trot Nixon drove in four runs as Boston held off Toronto 8-7 Thursday night to snap the Blue Jays' five-game winning streak.

The Red Sox, who finished 6-4 on their season-opening 10-game road trip, play Baltimore in their home opener at Fenway Park on Friday.

"We were hoping to go home 8-2,'' Damon said. "Of course, we wish we were better, but we'll take it.''

Boston is the last team in the majors to open at home besides the Expos, who "host'' the New York Mets in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Friday and don't play in Montreal until April 22.

There's just one problem for the Red Sox -- rain is expected Friday in Boston, which could mean a day-night doubleheader Saturday.

The Red Sox led 8-4 entering the bottom of the ninth, but Carlos
Delgado's two-run homer off Mike Timlin cut it to 8-7.

With most other relievers in the Boston bullpen struggling,
Timlin (1-0) went the final 2 2-3 innings for the win.

"I gave up three runs in the ninth. It didn't mean a thing, we
still won,'' Timlin said.

Nixon's tiebreaking two-run shot in the eighth inning off Cliff
Politte (0-1) gave Boston a 6-4 lead. Nixon went 3-for-3 with a
walk for the Red Sox, who avoided a three-game sweep.

"We were just fortunate enough to tack on four runs at the end
of the game. We needed it,'' Nixon said. "I think we are tired and
weary. I know we have only played 10 games, but we've been on the
road the whole time.''

Damon had three hits, three RBI and three runs scored. He
homered off Roy Halladay in the third and gave Boston an 8-4 lead
in the ninth with a two-run shot off Trever Miller. It was Damon's
fifth career two-homer game.

"We're just pleased to get out of here with a win,'' manager Grady Little said.

Manny Ramirez was 0-for-5, ending his career-high hitting streak at 22 games.

Halladay struck out 10 in seven innings, becoming the first
Toronto pitcher to strike out 10 or more since he fanned 11 on
Sept. 19, 2001, against the Baltimore Orioles. The right-hander
gave up four runs -- three earned -- and seven hits, walking one.

"It's a game we had a chance to win,'' Halladay said. "We took two of three, so we have to feel good about the way we played this series.''

Boston starter John Burkett allowed four runs -- three earned -- and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked five.

"It was a big-time team effort that gets us home 6-4,'' Burkett said.

After Shea Hillenbrand doubled with two outs in the eighth,
Nixon homered off Politte.

Chris Woodward had two RBI for the Blue Jays.

Damon singled, advanced to third on a grounder and scored on
Nomar Garciaparra's sacrifice fly in the first. Nixon hit an RBI
double in the second.

Woodward had an RBI infield single in the bottom half.

Damon led off the third with his first homer, giving Boston a 3-1 lead.

After Burkett walked Eric Hinske and Orlando Hudson in the
fourth, Hinske scored on Garciaparra's fielding error at shortstop
and Ken Huckaby hit an RBI single, tying it at 3.

Nixon's RBI single in the sixth gave Boston the lead again, but
Woodward hit an RBI double in the bottom half.

Game notes
Delgado has three homers and 13 RBI in the last four games. ... Singer-bassist Geddy Lee of the band Rush attended the game.