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Sox wield power broom: Five HRs cap off sweep
By Jeff Horrigan
Boston Herald Sports Reporter
Monday, April 23, 2007 - Updated: 09:41 AM EST

The late start for Daisuke Matsuzaka’s official indoctrination into the Red Sox [team stats]-Yankees rivalry occurred just as Monday morning rush hour was beginning in Japan, meaning that things might have been significantly quieter on Tokyo’s roadways than usual.

    But while the 9 a.m. start in the pitcher’s homeland may have eased the morning commute, it was Matsuzaka’s teammates who brought traffic to a halt around Fenway Park [map] with a record-setting offensive performance in a 7-6 victory that completed the three-game series sweep.
    The Red Sox offense, however, provided room for error by clobbering five home runs, including a major league record-tying four straight in the third inning.
    Manny Ramirez [stats], J.D. Drew [stats], Mike Lowell [stats] and Jason Varitek [stats] hit consecutive homers off New York starter Chase Wright to erase a 3-0 deficit, but Matsuzaka surrendered individual runs in the fifth and sixth to allow the Yankees to regain the advantage, 5-4.
    “There’s no way I could be satisfied,” Matsuzaka said through a translator. “What I wanted most of all was to hold the lead, and I couldn’t do that. When I get the chance again to pitch in New York next week, I will be conscious of it and I will do my best not to repeat the problems I had.”
    Lowell wrested the lead back in the seventh inning by slamming a three-run shot over the Green Monster off reliever Scott Proctor.
    Lowell’s 12th career multi-homer game (and first since May 20, 2004), allowed the Sox to sweep their archrivals in a series of at least two games for the first time since April 23-25, 2004. It was the first such sweep at Fenway since Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 1990.
    “They’re a little bit broken down with injuries and, if anything, that’s the time to take advantage, because they’re going to make their run,” Lowell said.
    Wright, who was making his second big league start, walked a tightrope in the first two frames, but managed to strand two runners each time. The 24-year-old left-hander retired the first two batters in the third before suddenly losing all effectiveness, as well as his 3-0 lead.
    Ramirez, who entered the game batting only .193, started things by smashing a 91 mph fastball beyond the Monster seats. J.D. Drew followed by jumping on a slider and blasting it over the Red Sox bullpen for his first home run since the home opener on April 10.
    Lowell then demolished a changeup, slamming it over everything and onto Lansdowne Street. Jason Varitek completed the historic barrage by walloping a fastball over the Monster for his second homer of the series.
    “I just wanted to hit the ball hard to keep the momentum going,” Lowell said. “I got a hold of one and the dugout was going crazy. It was really cool, a unique feeling.”  [continue]
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Jeff Horrigan
Boston Herald Sports Reporter
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