"We got great hitters," Millar said. "We got a great team. It's constant pressure on the pitcher. It's a tough lineup. There are no holes."
(1-0) recorded the win, allowing three runs and six hits in five innings with two walks and eight strikeouts. The
won the final three games of the series after dropping the season opener Monday.
"I kept my fastball down and threw strikes," Fossum said. "I also felt good about my curveball, mixing up speeds."
Bierbrodt (0-1) surrendered seven runs in four innings in his first start since giving up one run in six innings in the 2001 season finale against the
New York Yankees
"I don't think his velocity was as good as it was in the spring,"
manager Grady Little said. "It was better than his last time out, but it wasn't what we had seen for most of the spring. If you're not locating and you don't have good pop, then it makes it a little tougher."
Bierbrodt struggled last spring and was optioned to Class AAA Durham before the start of the season. The 24-year-old lefthander was demoted to Class A Charleston and made his first minor league start of the season on June 5. Less than two days later, he was shot twice while on the passenger side of an automobile at a drive-thru restaurant.
Bierbrodt suffered wounds in his right arm and chest and still has both bullets lodged in his liver. He returned to pitching nearly four months later and earned a spot in the 2003 rotation with a solid spring.
"I treated it (the start) like I never left, like any other game," he said. "It felt pretty natural. Once I got that first strike I was fine. I would much rather be talking about pitching than last year."
Bierbrodt blanked the
in the first two innings, but was tagged for five runs in the third. A wild pitch on a strikeout of Garciaparra triggered the big inning.
After giving up back-to-back doubles to
, it appeared that Bierbrodt would get out of the third allowing only run as he got Garciaparra to chase a pitch in the dirt with two outs.
"I threw the ball right where I wanted," Bierbrodt said. "I just had some bad luck. It was the turning point of the game."
The ball got past catcher
, who compounded the problem by throwing wildly to first for an error that allowed Mueller to score. Millar, who drove in four runs, followed with an RBI single and
added a two-run single to make it 5-0.
"What I notice about this series is that they scored about 22 runs with two outs," Tampa Bay manager
said. "That really shouldn't happen. I don't know if the pitchers lose their concentration and they think they are out of the inning or what. To score that many runs with two outs really takes the heart out of you."
got one back in the bottom half on Hall's solo homer, but Garciaparra's two-run double made it 7-1 in the fourth. Garciparra added a solo homer in the eighth.
Tampa Bay closed to 7-3 in the bottom half on a two-run single by light-hitting
, who had seven RBI in the series.
Millar hit the first pitch from
in the fifth over the left field fence for his second homer off the reliever in the series. Millar also homered off Sosa in the 16th inning Tuesday, leading the
to a 9-8 victory.
Boston broke it open in the sixth, taking an 11-3 lead on Millar's two-run double and Hillenbrand's sacrifice fly.
Millar, Mueller and Varitek had three hits apiece for the
, who banged out 16. Varitek went 6-for-11 in the series with four doubles and a home run.
"Things have fallen into place pretty good," Little said. "We are a confident bunch of players so far."