Wakefield is up to old tricks
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Garciaparra's replacement at shortstop, Orlando Cabrera, went hitless in five at-bats filling the third spot in the order. But he did all needed to do by fielding his position cleanly, and Wakefield handled things so well that Francona never needed to tap Mientkiewicz or Dave Roberts.
Not that he had any concern about how Cabrera, Mientkiewicz, and Roberts would mesh with the team. The manager, sounding a bit as if he were making a pitch for world peace, said, "When guys get in a [new] uniform for one day, they're part of the team. Baseball has a great way of doing that. Maybe the rest of the world should take notice. Barriers get knocked down and guys are welcome."
As for Wakefield, he may be aging but he was good enough to improve to 7-6 with a 4.15 ERA as he yielded only a two-run homer to Tino Martinez and an RBI ground out to Rhode Island's Rocco Baldelli. Even so, Martinez's homer in the first jarred him a bit.
"It was motivating for me, knowing it was very important for me to get my offense back in the dugout again," Wakefield said. "I made a bad pitch to Tino worrying about the runner at first base, but the offense did a great job of getting me back in the ballgame."
McCarty took care of it in the second inning as he laced a misplaced changeup from Hendrickson over the wall in left-center. McCarty is 3 for 4 with two homers and seven RBIs in his career against Hendrickson.
"I think it helped to kind of get us going a little bit," McCarty said. "It's nice to get a win for Wake on his birthday, too."
Wakefield did what a 38-year-old veteran is expected to do with a lead: He protected it. After Martinez's homer, the knuckleballer retired 10 straight before Jose Cruz mustered a harmless two-out single in the fourth.
Then the Sox gave Wakefield breathing room as Youkilis, renowned for his patience, pounced on Hendrickson's first pitch to him in the fifth and whistled a two-run double down the left-field line. Youkilis scored the final Sox run when third baseman Aubrey Huff misplayed a grounder by Manny Ramirez.
Upton? He fared better than he may have hoped, drawing a walk and singling in three plate appearances against Wakefield.
"The first at-bat, the first swing, the first pitch, I was kind of nervous," he said. "But other than that, it felt like another day."
© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.