2 Out Of 5 Ain't Bad. A losing record on a road trip shouldn't be anything to crow about, but since the Anaheim/Kansas City trip began 0-3, I think a cheer or two is in order. Derek Lowe pitched well on Sunday and a vicious collision helped the Red Sox gain a 5-3 win. ... X-rays on Jason Grimsley's right jaw and left forearm and Ken Harvey's right wrist and forearm were all negative.
Lowe made it through five innings before a blister emerged on his right thumb, which would have prevented him from pitching the 6th even if the Red Sox had not spent 30+ minutes scoring five runs. ... Mike Timlin threw three perfect innings -- on 27 pitches -- and Keith Foulke pitched the ninth.
Lowe started poorly -- allowing a leadoff double to Graffanino and a long, one-out home run to Sweeney -- but then settled down. With a sharp curve and a good sinker, he retired the next nine batters. ... Lowe was consistently behind in the count; he walked only one, but had eight 3-ball counts among the 20 batters he faced (including 4 of the first 8 hitters). Only 48 of his 84 pitches were strikes.
1st Inning: After Sweeney's home run, Lowe fell behind Harvey 3-0 before striking him out.
2nd Inning: Fell behind Randa 3-1, got him to ground out to first; fell behind Berroa 3-1, got him to ground out to shortstop.
3rd Inning: Fell behind Graffanino 3-0, got a called strike, then a ground out to shortstop.
4th Inning: Allowed a one-out single to Harvey, but retired both Stairs and Randa on first-pitch grounders.
5th Inning: Walked Stinnett on 4 pitches; Fell behind Gettis 3-0 but got him on a force play; fell behind Beltran 3-0, but came back to strike him out.
Beltran was his last batter. As to whether Lowe was lucky or good, it's a toss-up. The good news is that he did not melt down when he fell behind any of the Royal batters.
Also: Nomar Garciaparra will work out today at Fenway Park and a decision will be made whether to activate him. If he's back in the lineup tomorrow night, either Cesar Crespo and Andy Dominique would be sent down. I'd love to see Crespo dumped for good, but his versatility in the field does give him an advantage. ... Trot Nixon may start his assignment today for Sarasota (A). He took batting practice Sunday against Ramiro Mendoza and would love to join the Red Sox for next week's trip to Colorado and San Francisco. ... In Sunday's original lineup, Kevin Youkilis was batting third before Mark Bellhorn was scratched for "flu-like symptoms"; Youkilis was then bumped up to the #2 spot and Varitek moved from #6 to #3.
When told of the Marlins' interest in him, Doug Mirabelli said: "I want to stay here. I love being the backup here." However, he did note that if the Sox decided to trade him, "They better get Beckett." ... David Wells returns from the 15-day DL to face Pedro tomorrow night (he cut his right wrist when he "tripped at home" back on May 18). ... LA's Odalis Perez requested and received permission to postpone his next start one day so he could pitch in Fenway Park this Friday instead of in Toronto. Note to Perez: Be careful what you wish for.