The Boston Red Sox got solid contributions from two newcomers on opening day, and an even bigger one from one of the mainstays in their lineup.
Ortiz, edged out last season by the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez for the AL MVP, had three hits with a homer and three RBIs in Boston’s 7-3 victory over Texas on Monday.
“That’s so nice. I hope he has about 100 more (games) like that,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “We count on him so much. Lefty, righty—it doesn’t matter. He just puts good swings on the ball.”
While Ortiz had the best season of his career in 2005 with 47 homers and 148 RBIs, Lowell was coming off a disappointing year with Florida and was acquired by Boston during the offseason.
Lowell led off the eighth inning with a home run after hitting a career-low eight homers last season.
Coco Crisp, taking over for Johnny Damon in center field, also made a good impression. He scored two runs from the leadoff spot, and made a nice running catch at the wall of Laynce Nix’s sacrifice fly in the ninth.
The Red Sox now look to open with back-to-back wins for the first time since starting 5-0 in 1999.
Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield takes the hill for Boston. In his 12th season with the Red Sox, the 39-year-old right-hander is coming off one of his best years, recording 16 wins—his most since a career-best 17 in 1998—and pitching a career-high 225 1/3 innings.
Winning at Arlington, however, has been a problem for Boston’s No. 2 starter as he has dropped eight of his last 10 decisions there.
The Red Sox only hope Wakefield can come close to duplicating the performance given Monday by Curt Schilling, who struck out five and gave up two hits over seven innings in which he tossed 117 pitches.
Padilla posted career highs of 14 wins in 2002 and 2003, but the right-hander struggled in his last two seasons with Philadelphia, combining for just 16 wins. He was 9-12 with a 4.71 ERA in 27 starts last season.
In his only career appearance against the Red Sox, Padilla lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing five runs and eight hits in a 7-1 loss on June 25.
Monday’s loss was the Rangers’ third straight on opening day. Michael Young, who led the AL with a .331 average in 2005, was 0-for-4.
“He was really locating his pitches well,” Young said of Schilling, against whom he was hitless in three at-bats. “He was on his game, good stuff.”
Dating back to last season, Young has one hit in 13 at-bats after a season-high 25-game hitting streak. Young is batting .250 (6-for-24) in his career against Wakefield.
Third baseman Hank Blalock homered for the fourth straight opening day. Blalock had a career-high 32 homers, 110 RBIs and 107 runs scored in 2004, but slipped to 25 homers, 92 RBIs and 80 runs last season.
He has four singles and two doubles in 22 career at-bats versus Wakefield.