TORONTO (AP) -- Fired up in front of a big crowd, pitcher Shaun Marcum turned in a fine performance against the defending World Series champions.
Marcum struck out eight, Frank Thomas doubled home the go-ahead run in the seventh inning and the Toronto Blue Jays won their home opener, beating the Boston Red Sox 6-3 on Friday night.Wearing retro baby blue uniforms, Toronto improved to 24-8 in home openers before a sellout crowd of 50,171 waving white rally towels."I kind of had the extra adrenaline going," Marcum said. "Fifty-thousand plus here, the white towels, the blue uniforms, everything. It was a fun night."Marcum (1-0) allowed three runs and three hits and walked just one over seven innings. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in four career starts against Boston.His only mistake was a two-out, three-run homer by J.D. Drew in the seventh."Until that swing by J.D. he really had his way with us," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He threw an outstanding change-up, missed a lot of bats with it and commanded both sides of the plate. He tied us in knots."Drew homered on a 2-2 pitch after striking out twice on six total pitches in his first two at-bats."He was very effective, mixed all his pitches up well," Drew said. "He had me off-balance most of the night. I was just able to keep my hands inside on a cutter in. I still thought it was a pretty good pitch after watching it on tape."Left-hander Brian Tallet worked the eighth and right-hander Jeremy Accardo finished it in the ninth for his second save in as many opportunities.Matt Stairs opened the scoring in the sixth when he hit his first homer of the year, a solo shot into the right field bullpen off Boston starter Tim Wakefield.The blast snapped a streak of 21 consecutive scoreless innings by Red Sox pitchers.Alex Rios followed with a walk, Vernon Wells struck out and Thomas walked before Lyle Overbay blooped a single into shallow left. The ball bounced over the head of Manny Ramirez and was grabbed by Jacob Ellsbury, whose throw home was too high to get the sliding Rios.Aaron Hill followed with a drive to deep center that Ellsbury tracked down but dropped as he collided with the outfield wall. Thomas came home as Hill was credited with an RBI single."That one inning, they got all the breaks," Wakefield said.Francona said backlit scoreboards built into the outfield fence at Rogers Centre prevented both him and the umpires from getting a clean look at the play."You cannot see that," Francona said. "Umpires can't see it, I can't see it [from the dugout], nobody can see it. I don't even know how to argue."David Aardsma (0-1) replaced Wakefield to begin the seventh but was pulled after walking David Eckstein. His replacement, left-hander Javier Lopez, got the hook after giving up a single to pinch-hitter Shannon Stewart. Manny Delcarmen came on and got Rios and Wells to fly out before Thomas put the Jays in front with a two-run double up the alley in left-center.Delcarmen said he missed his location with a change-up."As soon as I let it go, I knew," Delcarmen said. "I was like 'Oh no.' "Eckstein capped the scoring with a two-out RBI single in the eighth.Wakefield gave up three runs and six hits in six innings, with three walks and four strikeouts."He threw the ball well," Francona said. "The ball was moving all over the place."
Toronto announced contract extensions for Rios and Hill before the game. Rios finalized a long-anticipated seven-year contract that guarantees him $69,835,000 and Hill agreed to a $12 million, four-year deal. Former Blue Jays second baseman Roberto Alomar threw out the first pitch. Alomar and former team president Paul Beeston were honored with induction into the Blue Jays' Level of Excellence.