TORONTO (AP) -- Terry Francona can rest easy, knowing his Boston
Red Sox are undefeated without him.
Bronson Arroyo won his first start of the season, and Jason
Varitek and Trot Nixon homered to lead the Red Sox over the Toronto
Blue Jays 6-5 Friday night for their second straight win under
interim manager Brad Mills.
Earlier Friday, Francona was released from a Boston hospital,
two days after experiencing chest pains In New York that doctors
said were likely caused by a virus. Francona is expected to return
for Monday's home opener at Fenway Park, when the Red Sox receive
their World Series rings.
He watched the game from Boston.
"It feels good to let him sit at home and not have any stress,
and pull a couple out," Arroyo said. "Hopefully, we can win every
game until he comes back, that way we can tell him that he's got to
sit on the sidelines and let Millsie take the reins for a little
Boston catcher Jason Varitek said the players all miss him.
"He's a huge part of our team. He's our leader, he's our
manager, but we want him healthy," Varitek said.
A crowd of 50,560 was at the game, Toronto's largest attendance
for a home opener. SkyDome was renamed the Rogers Centre and a new
FieldTurf surface was installed.
Two videoboards were also installed in the fence. Boston's
Johnny Damon cut his arm while fielding a double off one of the
videoboards in the second. He left the game in the ninth inning to
get six stitches.
"He cut his arm pretty bad," Mills said. "We talked about it
with the Blue Jays before the game. When Johnny got hurt by it,
that's what we had feared."
Mills said he thought Damon would be OK.
Arroyo (1-0), one of Boston's most reliable starters last
season, allowed two runs and three hits in six innings, struck out
four and walked one. Last year, he pitched eight shutout innings at
Toronto on May 15.
Keith Foulke, the fourth Red Sox pitcher, got his first save but
nearly blew a chance for the second time. With Toronto down 6-3,
singles by Corey Koskie, Shea Hillenbrand and Eric Hinske --
Foulke's first three batters -- produced a run.
"Bad pitches, bad location and they almost came all the way
back," Foulke said.
Hinske and Russ Adams hit solo homers for the Blue Jays, who
have lost two straight after opening with a pair of wins.
"I think we made a statement," Hinske said. "We were 90 feet
away from tying it."
Second-year Blue Jays starter David Bush (0-1) gave up three
runs and four hits in five innings.
Kevin Millar hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the first, and
Varitek led off the second with a homer off the facing the fifth
deck in right field.
Zaun's RBI single cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom half, but
Nixon homered leading off the third. Adam homered in the bottom
Varitek's RBI grounder made it 4-2 in the sixth after rookie
reliever Brandon League loaded the bases on two hits and a walk.
League missed a chance for an inning-ending double play in the
seventh by throwing a ball into center field for an error, allowing
Damon to go to third and Nixon to reach. Manny Ramirez had an RBI
single and David Ortiz added a run-scoring double.
Hinske homered off Alan Embree in the bottom half.
Guitarist Slash performed the national anthems to a rousing
ovation. ... Varitek is off to a 5-for-11 (.455) start. Boston's
captain hit his 99th career homer.