Nomar returns, but Red Sox lose to Padres

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BOSTON (AP)—Nomar Garciaparra was impressive in his 2004 debut. Too bad for the Boston Red Sox he was the only one.

Brian Lawrence pitched five innings of shutout ball Wednesday night and the San Diego Padres took advantage of three Boston errors to beat the Red Sox 8-1 and spoil Garciaparra’s return from a heel injury.

“People were excited to see him. We were excited to have him,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He swung the bat good. Obviously, he’ll do a great job.”

Garciaparra missed the first 57 games of the season with Achilles tendinitis, but he returned to a rousing cheer from the sold-out crowd at Fenway. The All-Star waved and saluted the fans when he took his position in the first and got a standing ovation when he singled in his first at-bat of the 2004 season.

“The ovation they gave me was incredible,” Garciaparra said. “I deeply and truly appreciate it. I can’t thank them enough.”

Neither Garciaparra nor Lawrence (8-3) remained in the game after a rain delay of 2 hours, 21 minutes in the middle of the sixth. Only a few thousand fans stayed for the end of the game at 12:12 a.m. EDT.

Lawrence allowed five hits and struck out five to win for the sixth time in seven decisions; he has not allowed more than one earned run in any of his last three starts.

“I’ve always been kind of under the radar. That’s a good place for me,” he said. “It’s nice for me to come in and surprise people.”

Mark Loretta had three hits and scored twice, Brian Giles had two hits and walked twice and Khalil Greene had three hits and a pair of RBIs for the Padres.

San Diego led 4-0 when the game was delayed, and Phil Nevin added a two-run homer in the seventh to help put the game away.

Bronson Arroyo (2-4) allowed two runs—one earned—on six hits in five innings. Still, it was an improvement over his two previous outings in which he allowed 11 earned runs in nine innings.

Garciaparra finished 1-for-2, and played a role in a key play in the field.

The game was scoreless in the fifth when Loretta singled with two out and Greene on first. Giles hit a grounder to Garciaparra’s right and the shortstop made a nice play to get to it, but his throw to first bounced and Andy Dominique couldn’t handle it.

Dominique picked up the ball and threw home to try to get Greene, but the throw sailed high and wide and went into the seats for an error that allowed Loretta to score and make it 2-0.

Tim Wakefield started the sixth for Boston, allowing two more runs before the delay came mid-inning

With one out, Terrence Long reached on second baseman Mark Bellhorn’s error, and went to third on Ramon Hernandez’s single. Xavier Nady’s groundout scored Long and Greene singled to make it 4-0. Wakefield got Sean Burroughs to end the inning, and then the grounds crew came out to cover the infield.

Johnny Damon hit a solo homer in the eighth to help the Red Sox avoid theirfirst shutout of the year.


Greene stole his first base of the season … During the rain delay, fans were cleared out of the Green Monster seats because of concerns about lightning. … Manny Ramirez singled in the fourth to snap an 0-for-8 skid. … Kevin Millar, who had one hit in his previous 14 at-bats, was 2-for-2.

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