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Yes, you read that correctly. There are now two awesome athletes in Boston with the last name Moss. His fame may only last for the next 24 hours or so, but outfielder Brandon Moss made his name known to Red Sox Nation and baseball fans everywhere by coming up huge in the Boston Red Sox's thrilling 6-5 win over the Oakland Athletics in the MLB season opener at the Tokyo Dome. If the World Champs wanted to start the season with some excitement, mission accomplished.
Down 4-3 in the top of the ninth inning, the 24-year-old Moss clubbed his first Major League homer off Huston Street to tie the game at four. Moss was not even scheduled to play in the game, but J.D./Nancy Drew couldn't go with tightness in his back (surprise, surprise). Moss is a promising prospect in the outfield; he and David Murphy (who was traded to the Texas Rangers last year with Kason Gabbard and another prospect to acquire Eric Gagne) were the two "other" outfield prospects the Sox had in addition to Jacoby Ellsbury. He has a very good arm, nice swing, and can hit to all fields. Most weren't expecting much from him coming out of spring training, but he's certainly made an impact early on.
The rest of the offense came courtesy of Manny Ramirez, whose two-run double in the top of the tenth inning put Boston ahead for good. Manny had four RBIs on the day. Moss also notched a two-out RBI single to give the Sox their first lead of the game in the sixth inning.
The pitching was a little suspect, especially late. Hometown hero Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched five innings, allowing two hits and two runs, striking out six batters and walking five. Obviously, control was an issue; Matsuzaka threw 95 pitches and just 51 for strikes. Hopefully, it's just some rust and nerves. Speaking of rust and nerves, no one looked more nervous to me than Jonathan Papelbon, of all people. The closer allowed three hits, a run and a walk in the tenth inning; Oakland would have tied the game at 6 if not for a base-running gaffe by Emil Brown. But the Papelbon got out of the jam with two on and two out, when Kurt Suzuki grounded out to end the game. Papelbon didn't have the usual fire in his eyes, for some reason; let's hope nothing is wrong with him physically.
THANK GOD BASEBALL IS FINALLY HERE!