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Lowe struggles, but notches third win

4/19/2003

BOSTON (AP) -- Boston's Derek Lowe felt like he got away with one
against Toronto.

Trot Nixon and Todd Walker each drove in two runs during
Boston's five-run third inning as the Red Sox won their sixth
straight game, 7-2 over the Blue Jays on Saturday.

Lowe (3-1), who gave up two unearned runs and seven hits in five
innings, escaped a pair of bases-loaded jams in the first four
innings.

Unlike last year when he pitched a no-hitter on Kids' opening
day, Lowe battled with his control in this year's Kids' opener.

"It was a win,'' Lowe said. "That's all you can really say
about it. It was a struggle to get through five innings.''

Boston's beleaguered bullpen has settled down recently. Jason Shiell pitched three scoreless innings in his Red Sox debut and
Brandon Lyon finished.

"When you have the type of game Derek has and he comes away
with a win, you have to be happy,'' Red Sox manager Grady Little
said. "He wasn't at the top of his game.''

Boston's offense is performing well now, though, averaging 6.6
runs per game to help improve the team's record to 12-5.

Toronto has lost three straight games and nine of 10. The Blue Jays, who entered as the AL's worst fielding team, committed three
errors that led to three unearned runs.

The Blue Jays equaled their worst start since also going 6-12 in
1979.

"We're hitting balls right people that are getting caught,''
Toronto manager Carlos Tosca said. "We're putting too many people
on base and to magnify the problem we're not catching the ball in
certain situations.''

The benches emptied in the fourth inning after Boston's Manny Ramirez was hit on the left elbow by Tanyon Sturtze's pitch, but no
punches were thrown and there were no ejections.

"I don't know what the big deal was about,'' Sturtze said. "He
just started yelling.''

Kevin Millar went 0-for-4 to snap his 14-game hitting streak. It
was the longest by a Red Sox hitter to open a season since Tony
Pena hit in 15 consecutive games in 1990.

Nixon went 2-for-4 with a double and triple, and Walker also had
two hits for Boston.

The Red Sox grabbed a 5-0 lead in the third against Sturtze
(2-1). Johnny Damon doubled after Jason Varitek was hit by a pitch
to open the inning. Walker followed with a double into the left
field corner, making it 2-0.

Two outs later, Millar walked before Nixon's grounder down the
first base line rolled into the corner for a triple to make it 4-0.
Bill Mueller walked and Nixon scored when Greg Myers threw the ball
into center trying to get Mueller stealing second.

Toronto cut it to 5-2 in fourth when Josh Phelps doubled and
later scored on shortstop Nomar Garciaparra's error. Shannon Stewart added an RBI single.

Boston capitalized on the Blue Jays' third error of the game to
score two runs in the fifth. Jeremy Giambi drew a two-out walk and
Varitek singled before Carlos Delgado misplayed Damon's grounder
down the line for an error that made it 7-2. Damon ended up on
third on the play.

Game notes
Toronto's Chris Woodward missed an extra-base hit by inches
when his drive hooked foul in right before taking a called third
strike with the bases loaded in the second. ... Pedro Martinez said
Friday that he's not talking to the media for the rest of the
season. ... Walker swung and missed with his bat flying four rows
into the stands in the first inning. ... Grammy award winning
artist James Taylor performed the national anthem. ... After the
game, the Blue Jays optioned RHP Doug Linton to Triple-A Syracuse
and purchased the contract of LHP Jason Kershner. They also
designated RHP Kevin Frederick for assignment.