Final in 10

Twins 3

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Red Sox 4

(1-0, 1-0 home)

    7:05 PM ET, March 3, 2005

    City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida 

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    MIN 100000002 - 3 - -
    BOS 10010002 - - 4 - -

    Clement allows one run in two innings

    FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- World Series or exhibition opener, the Boston Red Sox don't lose anymore.

    The champions beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 Thursday night, their ninth straight win in a streak that started after they trailed the New York Yankees 3-0 in the AL Championship Series last year.

    They won at a packed ballpark on a cool, drizzly night with few of the players who were instrumental in Boston's first title in 86 years. Starter Matt Clement allowed one run in two innings and Shawn Wooten homered. Neither was with Boston last year when it swept St. Louis in the World Series.

    Denney Tomori was on the mound for the final out -- a bouncer back to the pitcher just like the one Keith Foulke caught and flipped to Doug Mientkiewicz for the last out of the World Series.

    "I always give the save ball to the pitcher," said first baseman David McCarty, referring to the controversy that ensued when Mientkiewicz kept the ball he caught before lending it to the Red Sox.

    Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Johnny Damon, Trot Nixon and Bill Mueller didn't play for Boston.

    Clement was oblivious to the chants of "Let's go Red Sox!" as he concentrated on slowing down his delivery after a rough first inning.

    "The whole experience so far has been great," said Clement, who spent the last three seasons with the Chicago Cubs. "The Red Sox fans are unbelievable. They're intense. They're passionate. They're fired up just to watch some drills in spring training, which is awesome."

    He was satisfied that he didn't have to throw his best pitch, the slider.

    "The less I use my slider now and the better I get with those other pitches it's going to be a big plus for me," Clement said.

    Kyle Lohse, who should be the Twins fourth starter, allowed one run and two hits in the first two innings.

    "Last year was what it was," said Lohse, who was 9-13 with a 5.34 ERA. "It wasn't a good year for me, but I learned some stuff. This year is a fresh start. I can move on now."

    That's what the Red Sox are trying to do -- avoid focusing on the title -- even though the World Series trophy was on display at City of Palms Park.

    David Kalin, 38, made the 3½-hour trip from his Orlando home to see his favorite team and the trophy.

    "It's worth it," he said.

    But what about the game-time temperature of 57 degrees?

    "It doesn't matter," Kalin said.

    Jason Bartlett, a longshot in the competition to succeed Cristian Guzman as Minnesota's shortstop, scored the first run on Clement's wild pitch in the first. Jason Varitek's sacrifice fly tied it in the bottom of the inning.

    Clement is thrilled to be throwing to Varitek.

    "God willing, we're going to be throwing together three years and, hopefully, beyond," said Clement, who signed a three-year contract. "Obviously, he's at the top of his game."

    The Red Sox went ahead to stay on Kevin Youkilis' RBI single in the fourth off loser J.D. Durbin and they added two runs in the eighth on Wooten's homer and a throwing error by shortstop Luis Maza that allowed McCarty to score from second.

    Tomori struggled in the ninth, allowing two runs before catching Todd Dunwoody's grounder that ended the game and sent the few fans remaining home after another Red Sox win.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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