Sox Cash In At The Coliseum

The Red Sox have thrived playing at the cozy confines of Fenway Park, which has been the smallest park, in terms of seating capacity, for most of the last three decades. Turns out the Sox play pretty well in front of massive crowds, as well.

The Sox scored multiple runs in three different innings Saturday to beat the Dodgers, 7-2, in front of a world record baseball crowd of 115,300 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Capacity at the Coliseum is less than 93,000 but the Dodgers sold standing room only tickers.

The crowd Saturday edged the previous best of 114,000, set during an exhibition between American servicemen and Australia's national team during the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

"It was a pretty special night," Terry Francona told The Boston Globe afterward. "I don't think any of us knew what to expect coming in. I think everybody involved—both teams, both [teams' players], the Dodgers organization—they did a great job. And I thought the players did a good job of trying to get something out of the game and not paying attention to the short porch."

The Sox benefited from the short left field porch—the foul pole is a mere 201 feet away—twice. Backup catcher Kevin Cash hit a three-run homer in the second inning while Kevin Youkilis hit a two-run shot in the third. Both homers came off Dodgers starter and loser Esteban Loaiza.

"I thought I hit it good," Cash told reporters afterward. "You put it at Yankee Stadium, it's probably not a home run. It was a home run here."

Alex Cora and Bobby Kielty added an RBI apiece in the sixth inning off Chan Ho Park. Ten players had one hit apiece for the Sox.

Tim Wakefield earned the win for the Sox by allowing an unearned run on five hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked one in lowering his exhibition season ERA to 1.29.

"I thought he did a pretty good job of not letting things get in the way of his preparation," Francona told The Boston Globe afterward. "‘Wake' doesn't need a whole bit talking to, but we had mentioned, if things do get a little crazy, stay in your game. He threw strikes, he did well. I thought he was fighting to stay back early on, but even then he gathered himself and did pretty well."

Bryan Corey, who is vying to remain on the roster once Mike Timlin and Josh Beckett return from the disabled list, gave up one run on three hits and one walk while striking out one in two innings. Hideki Okajima struck out one in a perfect eighth before Jonathan Papelbon labored in the ninth, when he surrendered two runs on three hits while striking out two.

Papelbon also struggled in the Sox' 6-5 win over against the Athletics in the regular season opener March 25. He gave up one run on three hits and one walk and was spared the blown save by Emil Brown's baserunning gaffe in the 10th inning.


Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at diehardmag@yahoo.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.

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