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Red Sox win seventh straight thanks to Nomar's HR

4/20/2003

BOSTON (AP) -- This time, Boston's bullpen put the Red Sox in
position to win.

Nomar Garciaparra led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a
home run and the Red Sox got three innings of perfect relief to
overcome a five-run deficit and beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-5 for
their seventh straight win.

Garciaparra, who tied the game at 5 with a two-run double in the
seventh, connected on a 2-1 pitch in the ninth off Cliff Politte
(0-2) for his fifth home run of the year and 150th of his career.

"I was just thinking about getting a good pitch,'' said
Garciaparra, who hit his third career walkoff home run. "I was
trying to not go after anything bad and trying to get on no matter
what.''

The Red Sox' beleaguered bullpen came through with perhaps its
best showing of the season. After starter Casey Fossum walked five
batters and allowed four earned runs in six innings, Ramiro Mendoza
and Mike Timlin combined for three perfect innings. Timlin (3-0)
pitched two innings for the win.

Boston relievers allowed 34 earned runs in 41 1/3 innings to
open the season, but have not let up a run in their last 13 1/3
innings.

"That means a lot for the whole ballclub,'' Boston manager
Grady Little said. "They're starting to see that we've got some
guys in the 'pen that can come in and do a job like that.''

The Blue Jays have lost 10 of 11.

After Chris Woodward's RBI double gave the Blue Jays a 5-0 lead
in the sixth, Boston finally got to Roy Halladay. Kevin Millar hit
an RBI double and scored on Trot Nixon's single.

Jeremy Giambi opened the seventh with his second home run of the
year to cut the Blue Jays lead to 5-3. Jason Varitek followed with
a single and Johnny Damon doubled. One out later, Garciaparra
doubled to tie it and knock out Halladay.

Halladay, who won 19 games in 2002, allowed five runs and 11
hits in 6 1/3 innings. He is winless in five starts this season.

"That sixth inning took a little bit out of him,'' Toronto
manager Carlos Tosca said. "I think him being our No. 1 pitcher,
we got to give him an opportunity to go out there and see what
happens in the seventh.''

Mike Bordick pushed Toronto's lead to 4-0 with a two-run double
with two outs in the fourth inning. After retiring the first two
batters of the inning, Fossum walked Eric Hinske and Chris
Woodward. Bordick drove both in with a hit that sailed past Johnny
Damon in left-center field.

Reed Johnson picked up his first major league hit and RBI with a
single in the third inning to give the Blue Jays a 2-0 lead.
Johnson drove home Shannon Stewart, who led off the inning with a
double.

Fossum avoided major trouble in the first inning, holding the
Blue Jays to just one run after loading the bases with none out.
Carlos Delgado lined out to second baseman Todd Walker, but Stewart
scored after Walker made a throwing error to first base trying to
get a double play.

Fossum then got Josh Phelps to hit into a double play to end the
inning.

Game notes
Johnson made his major league debut as a pinch-runner
against the New York Yankees on April 17. ... 2B Dave Berg was a
late scratch from the Blue Jays lineup, replaced by Bordick. ...
Sunday marked the 91st anniversary of the first regular season at
Fenway Park. Before a crowd of 27,000, the Red Sox beat the New
York Highlanders 7-6 in 11 innings. ... The Red Sox have outscored
opponents 28-6 in the third inning this season.