Halladay tops Santana; White Sox get rings
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - April 4, 2006
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Not long after the Chicago White Sox received their championship rings, Roy Halladay and the Toronto Blue Jays showed why they could contend for a title this year.
Halladay outpitched Johan Santana in a matchup of recent Cy Young Award winners, and B.J. Ryan earned a save in his Toronto debut Tuesday night as the revamped Blue Jays opened the season with a 6-3 victory over the visiting Minnesota Twins.
Tired of finishing third behind the big-spending Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East, the Blue Jays signed Gold Glove catcher Bengie Molina, starter A.J. Burnett and Ryan during an expensive offseason overhaul. They also traded for slugger Troy Glaus and first baseman Lyle Overbay.
The new additions paid off right away.
Molina homered off Santana to give Toronto a 3-1 lead. Ryan, signed to a $47 million, five-year contract - the richest ever for a reliever - entered to loud cheers and struck out two in a perfect ninth to close it out.
"You saw it all tonight - by design," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said with a smirk.
After winning it all in 2005 for the first time in 88 years, the White Sox took home their glittering hardware Tuesday afternoon.
In a pregame ceremony before Chicago hosted Cleveland, commissioner Bud Selig assisted White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Kenny Williams in passing out the rings.
Then the Indians put a damper on Chicago's latest celebration, beating their AL Central rival 8-2. Aaron Boone homered, drove in four runs and crashed into catcher A.J. Pierzynski to score a run for Cleveland.
"The rings are great. We can now put last year behind us and move on," Pierzynski said, adding that the ceremony had nothing to do with the way the White Sox played. "After tomorrow, hopefully all this stuff goes away and we can focus on the season."
And manager Ozzie Guillen, who embraced Reinsdorf in a huge bear hug as he went to receive his ring, agreed. It's been fun, but time to move on.
"It was great, nice for the guys. Thank God this thing is over. All the circus is over and we can concentrate on playing baseball," Guillen said.
In other AL games, it was: Texas 10, Boston 4, Seattle 10, Los Angeles 8; and Oakland 4, New York 3.
Winning pitcher Jake Westbrook allowed two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings for the Indians, who put lefty C.C. Sabathia on the 15-day disabled list before the game with a strained abdominal muscle.
Victor Martinez also homered for Cleveland as the Indians roughed up loser Freddy Garcia for seven runs and nine hits in four innings. The Indians bounced back from Sunday night's soggy season opener, when they lost 10-4 in a game interrupted nearly three hours by rain.
Jim Thome hit a long homer for the White Sox, his second in two games against his former team.
In Toronto, Alex Rios also homered and had three hits for the Blue Jays. Glaus led off the fourth with a double, advanced to third on Overbay's single and scored on Shea Hillenbrand's sacrifice fly. Molina followed with a homer off the left-field foul screen.
"All the right moves were made, hopefully," Overbay said, referring to the offseason. "It's just the way it happened today."
Halladay didn't need much offense. The 2003 AL Cy Young winner allowed three runs - two earned - and five hits, striking out four and walking none in 7 2-3 innings. He missed the second half of last season with a broken leg.
"It was exciting to catch a guy that can dominate like that," Molina said.
Tony Batista and Shannon Stewart homered for the Twins, who wore "34" patches on their right sleeves to honor Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett. He died March 6 following a stroke.
Santana, who won the AL Cy Young in 2004, allowed four runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings in his first opening-day start.
"Things didn't go the way we expected or wanted," he said. "Give credit to those guys, they put the ball in play."
The Twins and Blue Jays were the last teams to open this season.
Rangers 10, Red Sox 4
At Arlington, Texas, Phil Nevin hit a three-run homer in the first inning and later chased struggling knuckleballer Tim Wakefield with a two-run single. Winning pitcher Vicente Padilla allowed one run and four hits over six innings in his AL debut.
Athletics 4, Yankees 3
At Oakland, Calif., Marco Scutaro hit an RBI single over left fielder Hideki Matsui's head in the bottom of the ninth for the A's. Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez homered off New York starter Mike Mussina, who pitched seven solid innings. AL Rookie of the Year Huston Street worked a scoreless ninth for the win.
Mariners 10, Angels 8
At Seattle, Richie Sexson had five RBIs and Mariners rookie catcher Kenji Johjima homered in his second consecutive game to back winner Joel Pineiro against loser John Lackey.
Garret Anderson hit a three-run shot and Tim Salmon had his first career pinch-hit homer for the Angels. It was the first homer since April 25, 2004, for Salmon, a 14-year veteran who was on the brink of retirement after missing nearly 1 1/2 seasons following operations on his shoulder and knee.
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