August 22, 2003
No two ways about it. It was time for Jeff Suppan to embrace the new
Red Sox creed and "cowboy up." Simply put, "cowboy up" is an old
rodeo rallying cry transported to the Hub by Texans Mike Timlin and
Kevin Millar, for riders who need to pick themselves up when times
are hard. And no member of the Sox needed to collect himself more
than Suppan, who was in growing danger of losing his grip on a spot
in the rotation after going winless with an 8.82 ERA in his first
three outings in the heat of a pennant race.
cowboyed up. In his finest start since he blanked the Cardinals in a
complete-game shutout July 28 in his last appearance for the Pirates, Suppan
lassoed the Mariners, holding the leaders of the American League West to two
runs over 6 2/3 innings as he helped the Sox seal a 6-4 victory before 34,379 at
largely to Suppan, the Sox reclaimed a share of the wild- card lead with the
A's, who fell to the Blue Jays, 6-3. Suppan hardly pulled it off alone, of
course. As the Mariners hovered within striking distance, 4-3, after trailing,
4-0, in the second inning, Manny Ramirez and Jason Varitek launched late homers
to put the game out of reach. Ramirez whistled his 31st of the season leading
off the seventh inning against Julio Mateo. And Varitek, who fanned three times
in the game and twice left the bases loaded, set a career high for a season by
slamming his 21st homer off Seattle sensation Shigetoshi Hasegawa in the eighth
inning. Varitek's homer was the first run Hasegawa allowed in 28 2/3 innings
since June 1, a streak in which he eclipsed a franchise record for Seattle
relievers of 24 straight scoreless innings set by Edwin Nunez in 1988.
Garciaparra helped the Sox seize the early lead by knocking in two runs, while
Millar and Trot Nixon knocked in two others.
whom the Sox acquired for Freddy Sanchez before the July 31 trading deadline, it
was a fine way to mark the 200th start of his career. Seattle, making its lone
visit to the Hub this year, has posted a winning record at Fenway only once in
the last 17 years. Suppan also received major assistance from Scott Williamson,
who helped thwart a threat in the seventh inning and pitched a scoreless eighth.
The appearance was Williamson's first since he surrendered a crushing three-run
homer to Oakland's Ramon Hernandez Tuesday in a loss to the A's. He said he was
treated between appearances with anti-inflammatories for mild shoulder
was Nixon, who climbed the wall of the Sox bullpen in the ninth inning to make a
sensational catch in robbing pinch Ben Davis of a two-run homer off Byung Hyun
Kim. For Nixon, the catch indirectly avenged a near-homer that Minnesota's Bobby
Kielty stole from him earlier in the season on a similarly spectacular play.
Nixon's catch, Kim recorded the second out of the ninth before Mark McLemore
laced a run-scoring single to center, bringing the ever-dangerous Bret Boone to
the plate as the potential tying run. Boone also singled to center, clearing the
way for Edgar Martinez, with the Mariners within one home-run swing of the lead.
But Kim, waging a tense, nine-pitch at-bat against Martinez, ultimately
prevailed when Martinez popped out foul to Millar at first, calming the anxious
crowd. The save was Kim's 10th for the Sox.
allowed a total of six hits and did not walk a batter. Varitek attributed the
right-hander's success to progressive improvement with his control and greater
understanding between the catcher and pitcher.
Ken Coleman died at Jordan Hospital in Plymouth from complications of bacterial
meningitis, but his broadcasting dream had been fulfilled many years before as
he called Red Sox games for 20 seasons over two separate stints on the job. He