Among a chorus of cheers and jeers, Manny Ramirez returned the batter’s box at his old stomping grounds at Fenway Park Friday night. The Dodgers came into the game with the Red Sox in a tie for first place in the National League West, but the Red Sox denied them the chance to stay level, beating the Dodgers 10-6.
Among the Red Sox players to welcome him back was slugger David Ortiz. He is was of the few players left on the roster from the Red Sox team that won its first World Series since 1918. He met Manny with a hug and a smile, then moved alongside him in fifth place on the Red Sox franchise all-time homerun list.
“Manny did so many good things the longer he played here,” Ortiz said. “All he did was put up numbers. To be right there with him, that caliber of power hitter, it’s a great feeling.”
Adrian Beltre added some power of his own, hitting a two run homer off reliever Ramon Troncoso. The homerun added to a seven-run fifth inning that started when Dustin Pedroia singled to left, and Ortiz drew a walk off Dodger starter Carlos Monasterios.
Though Ramirez only went 1-5, Dodger manager Joe Torre said he wasn’t worried about the slugger’s mindset. Manny hit some balls well, but they seemed to be hit right at defenders.
“He seemed fine. He was very determined,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “He didn’t seem edgy at all. He was out there, he was a teammate. He did all the things he’d normally do. He seemed pretty comfortable to me. He kidded about it a couple of times during the week but nothing that indicated to me that he wasn’t looking forward to it.”
Boston fans still might have been reeling from a Game 7 NBA Finals loss by the Boston Celtics to the LA Lakers. As a result, Manny stepped to the plate each time to some cheers and boos. He was batting in the DH spot, a position that could become very familiar to him very soon if he is traded in preparation for a Dodger playoff run.
“I know the fans here love to boo,” said Torre, who spent 12 years with the arch rival New York Yankees. “I certainly hope they understand how much Manny meant to this club, and they won two World Series with him.”
Rookie Felix Doubront got the victory in his first Major League start amongst “Beat LA” chants that reverberated around Fenway Park no matter who came to the plate.
MLB sportsbooks have set the Red Sox as the favorites to take the second game of the series against the Dodgers behind starter Tim Wakefield. The Red Sox line is set at -150, while the Dodgers are set as the underdogs at +135. The over/under for total runs scored in the game by both teams is set at 11.