Baseball: Red Sox get rings, dump Tigers
By JIMMY GOLEN
By JIMMY GOLEN
BOSTON — There was red-white-and-blue bunting hanging from the stands, a Green Monster-sized American flag on the left-field wall and an Air National Guard flyover punctuating "The Star-Spangled Banner."
After opening with a three-country trip of nearly 16,000 miles, the Boston Red Sox returned to Fenway Park, received their World Series rings and beat the winless Detroit Tigers 5-0 today behind Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Bill Buckner, a goat of the 1986 World Series collapse that helped extend the team's title drought until 2004, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He hadn't been to Fenway since 1997, when he was a coach with the Chicago White Sox.
During an hourlong pregame ceremony, Boston raised the championship banner in center field for the second time in four seasons. Players from last year's team received rings with diamonds and rubies and the inscription "4-0 Sweep," a reference to October's victory over the Colorado Rockies.
Before a cheering crowd of 36,567, Matsuzaka (2-0) began the home portion of his second season in Boston by allowing four hits in 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts and four walks.
Manny Delcarmen and Julian Tavarez completed a five-hitter against Detroit, the only winless team in the major leagues. Kevin Youkilis had three hits and two RBIs for the Red Sox, who began the day last in the AL East at 3-4 following a trip to Tokyo, Oakland and Toronto. But they responded well in their return to Fenway, where they were 51-30 during the regular season last year and 6-1 in the postseason.
The Tigers, with the big leagues' second-highest payroll, are 0-7 for the first time since dropping their first nine games in 2003 en route to an AL record 119 losses.
Kenny Rogers (0-2) allowed three runs — two earned — eight hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings. The Tigers are batting just .235 and have scored 15 runs this year, ahead of only Colorado (12) entering play Tuesday night.
J.D. Drew singled and scored in the second innings, and Manny Ramirez tripled and scored — on a rare throwing error by second baseman Placido Polanco — in the third. Julio Lugo singled and scored in the fourth, moving up on another error by the Tigers infield.
Boston added two more in the sixth to make it 5-0 when Jason Grilli gave up two hits and three walks.