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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lugo and Okajima temporarily ruin Celtics' buzz at Fenway

Other than the rain delay, everything was setting up perfectly for a nice, drunken Friday night at Fenway. The Celtics were in the building, riding around on Duck Boats and Paul Pierce comically threw out the first pitch to Jason Varitek. The Sox even honored the C's further by wearing their green jerseys.

As he has been for most of his Red Sox career, Julio Lugo was once again a buzzkill. He was joined on the goat list last night by Hideki Okajima, who is struggling big time.

The St. Louis Cardinals (minus Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and almost any player you've ever heard of) came in and took game one, 5-4.

Tim Wakefield pitched good enough to win: four runs (three earned) on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Wakefield (4-5) departed after seven innings and turned it over to Okajima, who gave up one run on three hits in an inning of work. Yadier Molina had the big hit off Okajima-a solo home run-that made the score 5-3 and turned out to be (as they usually are) a key run.

Did you know that journeyman Kyle Lohse is having a great year? Yeah me neither. Lohse (9-2) went six innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

Cardinals (43-32) manager Tony LaRussa-who might or might not have been drunk-took a page out of the Joe Torre book of overworking relievers as he had closer Ryan Franklin pitch the final two innings.

Franklin used to be a starter but still he was forced to labor through 44 pitches but he did pick up his 10th save. He'll undoubtedly be unavailable today.

Lugo had a nice night at the plate-for him-but it still couldn't washout the bitter taste of his two errors in the sixth that helped St. Louis score a run.

Lugo drove in Manny Ramirez with a sacrifice fly in the second to put Boston up 1-0.

Cards catcher Jason LaRue tied it with a solo homer in the fifth. After his two errors, Lugo did hit his first home run of the season in the bottom of the sixth to tie it.

Skip Schumaker hit a two-run blast to right off Wakefield in the seventh putting the Cardinals up 4-2.

Boston (46-32) had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the seventh as Manny came up with the bases-loaded and no outs. He grounded into a double play (the second time in the game he failed to deliver with the sacks full) which scored a run.

The Sox made it interesting in the ninth as Dustin Pedroia (two hits) doubled, Manny walked and Lowell knocked in Pedroia with a single. With runners on first and third and two outs, Kevin Youkilis flew out to right.

Dice-K makes his return from the DL and rehab starts this afternoon.

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