Red Sox defeat Angels despite SuppanPosted: Tuesday August 05, 2003 10:33 PM
Updated: Tuesday August 05, 2003 11:54 PM
BOSTON (AP) -- The way Trot Nixon has been hitting, even baseball's best pitchers are vulnerable.
"To get the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh, it doesn't matter if it was against Donnelly or against a young kid. It feels good," Nixon said.
In his last 33 games, Nixon has 26 RBIs and is batting .378, raising his average from .297 to .322. He's 3-for-4 in his career against Donnelly.
"This is the year Trot's established himself as one of the best right fielders in the game," said Kevin Millar, who hit a three-run homer in Boston's seven-run third. "He's been as consistent as can be."
Donnelly (1-2) had been more consistent, allowing just two earned runs in his first 50 innings, a 0.36 ERA. But since then the winning pitcher in this year's All-Star Game has given up three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings, boosting his ERA to 0.82.
He had retired 37 of the first 45 batters he faced this season but allowed a leadoff walk to Manny Ramirez in the seventh.
"Manny was very patient on a very, very, very close pitch," Donnelly said. "He did his job. He got on base."
Ramirez took second a groundout before Millar stuck out. Then Nixon came to the plate.
"He's a great pitcher," Nixon said. "In some sense, you look forward to facing guys like that. In another sense, you don't."
But Donnelly's fastball was high on the outside part of the plate and the left-handed Nixon hit it to left-center, scoring Ramirez and sending Anaheim to its third straight loss.
Boston won despite Jeff Suppan's struggles in his return to the Red Sox. Pitching for them for the first time since Sept. 17, 1997, Suppan, acquired last Thursday from Pittsburgh, allowed seven runs in five innings.
"My focus was there. I just wasn't able to execute pitchers as well as I would have liked," he said.
Suppan was 5-0 in his last six starts with Pittsburgh but left Tuesday's game with the score 7-all after five innings, the most runs he has allowed in any of his 22 starts this year. And he served up three homers after allowing a total of 11 in 141 innings with Pittsburgh.
"At this level, you don't want to leave too many balls out over the plate. Maybe he [Suppan] did," Anderson said. "You have to give credit to the hitters, too."
Nomar Garciaparra and Millar hit three-run shots for the Red Sox the third when they took a 7-5 lead.
The Angels led 2-0 in the second on homers by Spiezio, his 11th of the season, and Kennedy, his ninth. They made it 5-0 in the third, but the Red Sox, the best-hitting team in the majors, got Suppan off the hook in the bottom half when they rallied against John Lackey.
Nixon doubled, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout. With two outs, Johnny Damon walked, Bill Mueller singled and Garciaparra hit his 19th homer. Ramirez walked, David Ortiz doubled and Millar hit his 18th homer that gave Boston its first lead, 7-5.
But Suppan gave up Eckstein's sacrifice fly in the fourth and Anderson's 25th homer in the fifth that tied it at 7.
In the fifth, the Red Sox drove Lackey out of the game with two runs on Ramirez's run-scoring single and David Ortiz's RBI double.
Notes: Anaheim lost for the ninth time in 11 games. Boston won its second straight after losing four in a row. ... Tyler Hamilton, of Marblehead, Mass., threw out the ceremonial first pitch a month after breaking his collarbone in the Tour de France. ... The nine runs Lackey allowed broke his previous season high of seven set in his most recent game, an 8-0 loss to the New York Yankees last Wednesday. ... Suppan allowed just 13 runs in his previous six starts. ... 3B Kevin Youkilis of Boston's Class AAA team in Pawtucket had his streak of reaching base in 71 straight games broken. That left him tied with current Boston 1B Millar for the longest on-base streak in minor league history. Youkilis flied out twice and took two called third strikes in a 9-0 loss to Syracuse. Millar's streak came from 1997-99 in Florida's minor league system.