Boston (2-2) at Toronto (2-2)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 61° F
  • Game info: 1:07 pm EDT Sat Apr 9, 2005
  • TV: NESN, RSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

David Wells hopes to shake off an unimpressive debut for the Boston Red Sox. He’ll have to do it against Roy Halladay, who is eager to prove he’s back in Cy Young form.

Wells and Halladay will square off when the Red Sox continue a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.

Wells, a two-time Yankee and former Red Sox nemesis, got thrown right into the Boston-New York rivalry on opening night in the Bronx, going up against Randy Johnson on Sunday. However, the portly left-hander wasn’t able to outpitch his fellow southpaw, yielding four runs and 10 hits over 4 1-3 innings, striking out four and walking one in a 9-2 loss.

“It’s always frustrating when you don’t go out there and have a great performance,” said Wells, who went 12-8 with a 3.73 ERA for San Diego last year. “It’s something that you’ve got to learn from in the next outing. I had a bad night. A bad night is a bad night.”

He probably can’t afford to have another one against Halladay, who looked every bit like the pitcher who won the 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner in Monday’s season-opening 5-2 win over Tampa Bay. The hard-throwing right-hander allowed two runs and nine hits over seven innings, striking out seven and walking none.

“My biggest focus was trying to almost make it a spring training start,” said Halladay, who fought through injuries to go 8-8 last year.

“Sometimes it’s hard not to try and turn things up a little bit and overpower guys. … I felt for the most part I was able to stay under control.”

Manager John Gibbons was impressed with what he saw from his ace.

“He did great,” Gibbons said. “He looked like the old Roy we saw a couple years ago.”

The Blue Jays forged a late rally but had their home opener spoiled with a 6-5 loss in Friday’s series opener.

Jason Varitek and Trot Nixon homered for Boston, which nearly squandered a three-run lead in the ninth before closer Keith Foulke got the last out with the bases loaded.

Boston was playing its second straight game without manager Terry Francona, who was released from a hospital Friday, two days after experiencing chest pains that doctors said were likely caused by a virus.

Francona complained of tightness in his chest and was hospitalized in New York on Wednesday before the Red Sox played the Yankees. He later was transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for more testing.

Team physician Dr. Thomas Gill said Friday that tests showed no evidence of a serious heart problem and that Francona’s chest pains probably were caused by “a recent viral illness.”

“He will be monitored over the weekend by the Red Sox medical staff, and should be ready to return to the bench on Monday for the team’s home opener,” Gill said in a statement. “He is in good spirits, and is extremely eager to return to the team.”

Russ Adams and Eric Hinske hit solo homers for the Blue Jays, who have lost two straight.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Wells LAD vs. R. Halladay Tor
15-7 Record 12-4
4.45 ERA 2.41
107 K 108
21 BB 18
1.31 WHIP 0.96