- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 12, 2008

— The Boston Red Sox got five runs in the first inning, another strong outing from the rejuvenated Bartolo Colon and one more win in friendly Fenway Park.

They even got a three-run homer from an ailing Jason Varitek.

Boston beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-3 on Wednesday night, the 150th victory of Colon’s career and another sign of how big a bargain the 2005 Cy Young winner has been.

“I don’t really think about the wins,” Colon, who signed a minor league contract in spring training, said through a translator. “Every start I do, I’m starting to feel a little better.”

Colon (4-1) got his last win of 2007 on June 14. On Wednesday, he allowed one run in six innings under a contract worth $1.2 million plus performance and roster bonuses.

The 35-year-old right-hander already has more than half as many wins as he totaled over the last two injury-plagued seasons with the Los Angeles Angels when he was 7-13 with a 5.72 ERA in 29 games. This season, he has looked more like the pitcher who won the Cy Young three years ago with a 21-8 record and a 3.48 ERA.

“He’s been tremendous for us,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “To get a guy you didn’t have when spring training started and all of a sudden he’s right in the middle of the rotation helping us win games, it’s been big.”

So was the offense, which sparked Boston to its 27th win in 34 games at Fenway Park, the best home record in the majors.

It staked him to a 5-0 lead in the first inning, and he finished with seven strikeouts and just one walk as he improved his career record to 150-96.

“It’s a lot easier to pitch when you get five runs before people sit down in their seats,” Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said.

It also limited the Orioles’ offensive options.

“If you put four or five on the board, I think it takes away the hit and run. It takes away the stolen base,” Boston’s Mike Lowell said. “They kind of feel like they have to slug, and I think we match up well when any team has to do that.”

Varitek’s three-run homer capped the five-run first against Garrett Olson (5-2). Varitek hadn’t been feeling well and was replaced in the ninth by Kevin Cash.

“I wasn’t feeling real good all game,” Varitek said. “I’m pretty achy, and [Francona] with the five-run lead, decided to make the switch. … [I’ll] get a good night’s sleep, and we’ll see.”

Olson held the Red Sox scoreless for the next four innings, then allowed Lowell’s solo shot in the sixth.

“The first inning’s always the hardest,” the left-hander said. “You’ve got to see what you have.”

Luke Scott homered for Baltimore in the fifth, and Francona was forced to use Jonathan Papelbon with two outs in the ninth after Mike Timlin allowed two runs on Kevin Millar’s RBI double and a run-scoring error by second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

The closer retired Brian Roberts on a grounder to first baseman Kevin Youkilis and picked up his 19th save in 21 chances. He remained unscored on in 17 2/3 innings in his career against Baltimore.

Colon’s latest victory came in the same stadium where he earned his first - a 9-5 win with Cleveland on June 7, 1997.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide