TORONTO - As I mentioned earlier, I've never seen Frank Thomas so excited at the start of a season about a team he's played for.
The Big Hurt greeted reliever Manny Delcarmen with a first-pitch grand slam on a 95 mile per hour fastball with two outs in the fifth. Thomas has been sizing up Delcarmen nicely this season. On Friday night he surrendered Thomas's game-winning seventh-inning double. On that at-bat, Delcarmen threw an 81 m.p.h. changeup that Thomas anticipated.
This time, Thomas probably figured there was no way Delcarmen would throw him another changeup. Right again. Down the pike came the 95 m.p.h. fastball and Thomas was ready again. That was his 11th career grand slam.
The Toronto lineup did a great job today of working Josh Beckett's pitch count skyward.
The Sox ace lasted 4 2/3 innings. Both Alex Rios and Vernon Wells, who drew walks before Thomas's grand slam, did a great job in waiting out Beckett's pitches, knowing the Sox ace was tiring. After Beckett walked Wells on four pitches, manager Terry Francona thought that was enough. Beckett, making his first start since coming off the disabled list today, had thrown 92 pitches.
The Sox trail, 6-2.