BOSTON (AP) — Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez knew it was all in fun. But he certainly didn’t expect Julio Lugo to hit one that far.
Lugo launched a two-run homer off a billboard above the Green Monster on Sunday, providing the only runs in a Red Sox alumni game before Boston faced the Atlanta Braves at Fenway Park.
“Julio told me: ‘After 35-years, this is the first hit I got off you,'” Martinez said, standing at a bunch of temporary lockers in a club behind center field.
“It was a straight fastball. I fell behind on the count and laid it in there, but I didn’t expect him to hit it out, but he did,” Martinez said. “He hit it well. He’s playing softball. You can see the swing.”
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It was the first alumni game the Red Sox have held in 25 years.
Former pitcher Luis Tiant and right fielder Dwight Evans served as managers in the game scheduled for three innings. It was extended to four after some quick outs, giving Tiant’s squad the victory.
Martinez and Lugo were joined by 2007 World Series MVP Mike Lowell, who was on the front end of a nifty 5-4-3 double play, along with other notable names: Hall of Famer Wade Boggs, pitchers Bill Lee and Derek Lowe, and outfielder Mike Greenwell, runner-up for AL MVP in 1988.
A handful of Braves current players watched from their dugout, including 24-year-old left-hander Sean Newcomb, a Massachusetts native, who was born in Brockton, attended Middleborough High School and still resides in the state in the offseason.
“I remember watching the most — Pedro, Derek Lowe, Mike Lowell, Jonny Gomes, Orlando Cabrera, and Julio Lugo,” Newcomb said, sitting in the dugout.
For the 42-year-old Lugo, it was a memory he won’t forget. Not bad for someone who hit .385 as Boston’s starting shortstop in the 2007 World Series sweep over Colorado.
“To get a home run here was awesome,” he said. “It was awesome. Not only going deep but against Pedro. It was special. I was trying to hit it out. It was a fun game. I didn’t know if I was going to do it. But I was trying. It worked out.”
The game ended when Lee struck out against Lenny DiNardo with the bases loaded. The smiles seemed to never leave when they all were on the field.
“To be back on that mound is so refreshing,” said Martinez, who said he thought it was his first time on the Fenway mound since he was with the New York Mets in 2006.
“It was like it was yesterday,” he said.
Proceeds from a 50/50 raffle were to benefit NESN cameraman, John Martin, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2016. Martinez has done other things to help cameraman’s charity.