BOSTON (AP) -- Byung-Hyun Kim gave Fenway Park fans a reason to
In his first outing since he made an obscene gesture when they
booed him in last year's playoffs, Kim pitched five scoreless
innings of one-hit ball coming off the disabled list Thursday.
"Maybe the fans that don't like me didn't show up," he said
after the Boston Red Sox' third straight shutout, a 4-0 victory
over the Tampa Bay Devils Rays in the opener of a day-night
Kim and three relievers limited the Devil Rays to three singles
and Red Sox pitchers extended their scoreless streak to 32 innings,
seven short of the team record set in 1916.
Boston relievers have pitched 30 1-3 straight shutout innings.
"Their confidence is high," manager Terry Francona said of his
pitchers. "They are a good staff going through a great period."
Boston won its fifth straight game and has the best record in
the majors at 14-6.
Kim (1-0) received loud ovations from the largest crowd at
Fenway Park in 14 years when he took the mound in the first and
when he left it in the fifth.
"I worry about a good start rather than how the fans are going
to react," he said. "As time goes, I think I am going to have
Last October, Kim raised his middle finger when fans booed him
during introductions before the third game, and the first at
Fenway, of the AL division series against Oakland.
Kim went on the disabled list in spring training with a strained
right shoulder. In three rehabilitation appearances, he allowed no
earned runs in 8 1-3 innings before being activated Thursday.
"He's pretty deceptive out there" with his sidearm delivery,
Tampa Bay's Robert Fick said. "He seemed like he had good speed
with his fastball."
David Ortiz hit a two-run homer in the fifth and added two
doubles as he extended his streak to nine games with an extra-base
"As long as you produce for this pitching staff that we have
we'll be fine," Ortiz said. "We have guys that can be the No. 1
starter on any other team."
"We've been kept off balance a lot all year," Devil Rays
manager Lou Piniella said.
It was the Devils Rays' seventh game with fewer than two runs.
They've played 19.
Boston's shutout string began with five innings Saturday in a
3-2 win over the Yankees. The Red Sox beat New York again 2-0 on
Sunday when Pedro Martinez pitched seven innings, and defeated
Tampa Bay 6-0 Wednesday when Curt Schilling pitched 7 1-3.
The game was rescheduled after Tuesday night's rainout of the
series opener. The attendance was 35,614, the most since 35,735
attended a game at Fenway on Sept. 18, 1990.
Kim left with a 2-0 lead on Ortiz's fifth homer of the year
after Johnny Damon walked and was forced out at second by Bill
Mueller in the fifth.
Kim had five starts in 49 appearances for Boston last year after
being obtained from Arizona. He prefers to start and reclaimed the
No. 5 spot in the rotation behind Martinez, Wakefield, Schilling
and Derek Lowe, who was scheduled to pitch Thursday night's game
against Damian Moss.
Kim, who allowed the tying run to reach base in the ninth inning
of Boston's loss in the AL division series opener against Oakland,
was jeered when the public-address announcer read his name last
Oct. 4 before Game 3.
That's when he made his gesture. He apologized later but was
left off the AL championship roster with a stiff shoulder.
Tampa Bay's Jose Cruz Jr. is in an 0-for-30 slump after
going 0-for-2. ... Zambrano had a career-high 10 strikeouts in six
innings. His previous high was eight last June 4 at the Chicago
White Sox. ... Ortiz is the first Red Sox player with extra-base
hits in nine straight games since Butch Hobson had a nine-game
streak in 1977. ... To make room for Kim on the 25-man roster, the
Red Sox optioned LHP Phil Seibel to Double-A Portland.