REVERSING THE CURSE,
& TEK COME TO TOWN
Pedro masterful in Fenway debut
April 11, 1998 ... So
far, Red Sox fans have seen two games at Fenway Park: the greatest
comeback in 98 seasons of home openers, and a 12-strikeout, two-hit
shutout by Pedro Martinez in his Fenway Park debut. It's impossible
to imagine anything happening on Yawkey Way today that will match the
wonders of the previous two afternoons.
In front of
a flag-waving, name-chanting, foot-stomping crowd of 32,403 of his newest best
friends, hundreds of whom claimed dual citizenship in Red Sox and Dominican
nations, the 26-year-old Martinez overwhelmed the Seattle Mariners, a team of
Ken Griffey-led big boppers rarely overwhelmed by anybody, 5-0.
heard standing ovations when he warmed up in the bullpen, when he first toed the
rubber, when he struck out the side in the third, when he fanned Rick Wilkins
for his 1,000th career strikeout, when he came out for the ninth with Tom Gordon
warming in the bullpen, and when he finished off the Mariners by inducing
Griffey to foul out to Mo Vaughn for the final out. And who's to say that when
he pointed skyward and crossed himself before being swept up into a conga line
of teammates' high-fives, Martinez wasn't acknowledging higher approval as well?
It was Kids'
Opening Day at Fenway Park, but most parents probably had no idea about the
multicultural afternoon their kids were about to experience. Everywhere you
looked, there were red, white, and blue flags of the Dominican Republic, brought
to the park by fans from Lynn, Lawrence, Jamaica Plain, and every other street
corner where a merengue beat is heard.
there was this scene in the stands behind home plate: Juan Marichal and Luis
Tiant, one a Hall of Famer, the other a cigar-smoking legend, both former Sox
pitchers and proud of their Latin heritage, hugging each other and celebrating
the poetry of Pedro.
In such an
emotionally charged setting, another former Sox pitcher and Sudbury resident,
Jamie Moyer, had little chance. Moyer found himself in a 1-0 first-inning hole
when John Valentin singled and scored on Leyritz's double. The lefthander
trailed, 4-0, after three, and gave up his final run on an infield hit by Darren
Lewis and Nomar Garciaparra's triple that rattled around the right-field corner.
lined a single to center to open the fourth, was the only Mariner to reach
second, advancing on one of the two walks issued by Martinez, this one to Edgar
Martinez. Martinez had at least one strikeout in every inning but the first, and
fanned everyone in the Seattle order except for Cora and Edgar Martinez. He
retired the last 10 Mariners in order.