Tim Wakefield

July 6, 2004: Red Sox win their second 11-0 game of the season

This article was written by Bill Nowlin

Tim WakefieldLess than three weeks earlier, on June 17 at Denver’s Coors Field, the Boston Red Sox had shut out the Colorado Rockies 11-0.1 On July 6, they again posted an 11-0 win, this time at Fenway Park against the Oakland A’s.

Both starting pitchers for this Tuesday evening game entered with identical records of 4-5. Tim Wakefield, his 38th birthday less than a month away and his ERA at 4.27, pitched for Terry Francona and the Red Sox; Ken Macha’s starter for Oakland was Barry Zito (4.41 ERA). Seeking a third consecutive AL West title, Oakland again led its division, tied with the Texas Rangers. Boston was second in the East, eight games behind the New York Yankees. The matchup drew 35,302.

Neither team scored in the first inning. A leadoff single by Boston’s Johnny Damon went for naught as Nomar Garciaparra struck out, leaving runners stranded on first and second. Wakefield retired the Athletics in order in both the first and second innings.

The Red Sox pounced in the bottom of the second. Kevin Millar singled but was forced out at second on a grounder to third base by Trot Nixon. Catcher Doug Mirabelli, behind the plate for the 15th time in Wakefield’s 15 starts, reached on an error as the ball shot right through first baseman Scott Hatteberg’s legs.2

Sox third baseman Bill Mueller was batting ninth; the 2003 AL batting champion was appearing in only his fourth game back after knee surgery on May 29. Batting right-handed, the switch-hitting Mueller hit a three-run homer to deep left field, giving the Red Sox a 3-0 lead. Damon singled again but two groundouts followed.

Marco Scutaro hit a ground-rule double off Wakefield in the third but was the only one to reach base. Wakefield again set down the side in order in the fourth.

The Red Sox added four more runs in their half of the fourth. First came three consecutive singles, by Mirabelli, Mueller, and Damon. Second baseman Mark Bellhorn worked a six-pitch walk, forcing in Mirabelli.

David Ortiz made the first out, a fly ball to left field, not deep enough for Mueller to tag and score. Manny Ramirez forced in the second run, drawing another bases-loaded walk on five pitches.

After Garciaparra lined out sharply to Mark McLemore at third base, Millar doubled into the left-field corner and drove in both Mueller and Damon. It was 7-0, Red Sox, after four innings.

Zito, the AL Cy Young Award winner in 2002, continued to struggle. Indeed, observed Susan Slusser in the San Francisco Chronicle, “Zito was manhandled. … He has yet to find any measure of consistency this season.”3 

After striking out the first two batters he faced in the top of the fifth, Wakefield gave up back-to-back singles to Damian Miller and Eric Byrnes. Scutaro, though, flied out to right field.

Rookie Justin Lehr took over from Zito to pitch the bottom of the fifth, but he followed Zito’s pattern from the fourth inning – putting the first three Boston batters on base. Mirabelli reached on an infield single to second base and Mueller walked. Damon got his fourth single of the game, hit to right field, but Mirabelli held at third.

Everyone moved up on Bellhorn’s RBI single, giving Boston an 8-0 lead.

Up once again with the bases loaded and nobody out, Ortiz popped up to shortstop. Manny Ramirez grounded out to first base, where Hatteberg made the play unassisted; Mirabelli scored, a second RBI for Ramirez. On a 1-and-1 count, Garciaparra drove in two more runs with a single to center field. It was 11-0, Red Sox.4

Any shortcomings attributed to Zito would appear to equally be borne by Lehr, and it could be noted that Oakland had dropped 14 of its last 19 road games. 

The inning continued. Kevin Millar doubled to left-center (the only ball that struck Fenway’s left-field wall all evening), but Nomar wasn’t able to advance past third.5 Macha summoned Justin Duchscherer, who had started his professional career as a Red Sox draftee in 1996, to relieve Lehr. On Duchscherer’s second pitch, he got Trot Nixon to fly out to right and end the inning.

Wakefield got three groundouts in the top of the sixth, one after the other – first Mark Kotsay and then pinch-hitters Ramón Castro (for McLemore) and Eric Karros (for Hatteberg.)

After Duchscherer retired the first two Red Sox batters in the sixth, Damon got his fifth hit of the game – yet another single – and Bellhorn singled behind Damon, but Ortiz grounded to first base, where he was out with the pitcher covering.6

In the seventh, Wakefield struck out the first two batters (Jermaine Dye and Erubiel Durazo), then walked Bobby Crosby, who was forced out at second base on a grounder to short by Damian Miller. Wakefield had allowed just three hits (the third-inning double by Scutaro and the back-to-back singles in the fifth) and one walk. Only Scutaro had gotten as far as second base.

Francona had left-hander Jimmy Anderson take over and pitch the eighth. The Red Sox made a few defensive substitutions. Anderson struck out Byrnes, and got Scutaro to ground out and Kotsay to fly out to left.

Ricardo Rincón was Oakland’s fifth pitcher of the game. One could say he had to get five outs in the bottom of the eighth, but he did just that. Rookie Kevin Youkilis pinch-hit for Mueller and struck out swinging but reached first on a wild pitch. After Damon popped up to first base for his first out in six plate appearances, Bellhorn reached on an error at second base.7 Ortiz grounded out to first base, unassisted, as both runners moved up 90 feet. Gabe Kapler (who had just taken over for Ramirez in left) struck out.

In the top of the ninth, with an 11-run cushion, Anderson faced three batters. After a groundout, Karros singled to center field, but Bobby Kielty hit into a 4-6-3 double play, ending the game.

The win was Wakefield’s first in six starts, dating to May 23. Kevin Millar said, of a team that had lost a lot of players to injuries in the early going, “This is the 2004 Red Sox. This is the first time we’re back in our house with our lineup.”8 Doug Mirabelli concurred: “This is the team we wanted to have on the field every day since spring training.”9

The Red Sox racked up 11 runs despite “off days” from two of their leading sluggers. Ortiz was 0-for-6, with only his third-inning pop fly to short left field leaving the infield. Manny Ramirez was 0-for-3 in the game, though he did contribute two RBIs on a bases-loaded walk and a run-scoring groundout.

Boston scored 11 more runs a night later and went on to sweep the three-game series. Two wins in three games against the Rangers followed for a 5-1 homestand heading to the All-Star break. Still, the Red Sox remained seven games behind the Yankees at the break. The defeats in Boston kicked off a slide of 10 losses in 15 games for the A’s, who fell from first entering play on July 6 to 4½ games behind Texas on July 23.

The 11-run spread was the largest margin of victory for the Red Sox in any 2004 game, on their way to their first World Series win since 1918. There were four such games with 11-run differentials, including the shutouts on June 17 and July 6. The Red Sox also had a 12-1 win on June 25 at Fenway Park over the Philadelphia Phillies (Pedro Martínez allowing just two hits and the one run in his seven innings) and a 13-2 victory on September 10 at Seattle’s Safeco Field (Curt Schilling allowing four hits and two runs.)



This article was fact-checked by Laura Peebles and copy-edited by Len Levin.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted Baseball-Reference.com and Retrosheet.org.





1 Derek Lowe started the June 17 game, and Red Sox pitchers held the Rockies to six hits.

2 Hatteberg had broken in with the Red Sox in 1995; he played in 454 games with Boston through 2001, all at catcher, third base, or designated hitter. He was traded to Colorado in December 2001 for Pokey Reese. In 2002 the A’s signed him as a free agent and converted him to first base. 

3 Susan Slusser, “Red Sox Pound A’s at Fenway,” San Francisco Chronicle, July 7, 2004: D1. After the game, Zito said he had been making his pitches: “A lot of balls they hit were good pitches” – not ones right over the plate – but Red Sox batters apparently liked the pitches, since they feasted on them. Slusser’s column contained intimations from both manager Macha and Zito himself that perhaps the batters knew what pitches were coming.

4 Garciaparra, who hadn’t been able to get into a game until June 9, was starting to click; he had nine hits in his last 18 at-bats. He’d been out with an Achilles injury that a Boston Globe columnist had called “mysterious.” Dan Shaughnessy, “Looks Like a Short Stop Is Left for Fenway Fans,” Boston Globe, June 10, 2004: C1.

5 Mike Fine, “More Like It,” Quincy (Massachusetts) Patriot Ledger, July 7, 2004: 21.

6 There had been another Damon taking some batting practice before the game – actor Matt Damon, who reportedly hit one ball off the left-field wall. Michael Vega, “Damon a Tough Act to Follow,” Boston Globe, July 7, 2004: C6.

7 Shortstop Bobby Crosby complained that the Fenway Park infield was “chewed up” and that more than once the A’s might have had a double play, but for the condition of the field. Slusser, D5.

8 Jimmy Golen (Associated Press), “Red Sox Hammer Zito, Athletics, 11-0,” Redding (California) Record Searchlight, July 7, 2004: C2.

9 Mike Fine, “More Like It.” Interestingly, Nick Cafardo wrote in the Globe, having no idea of the July 31 trading deadline deal that sent off local superstar Nomar Garciaparra, “The Red Sox might make a blockbuster deal to shake things up before the deadline, but last night was one of those teasers for general manager Theo Epstein, a reason not to do anything.” Nick Cafardo, “Straight A’s,” Boston Globe, July 7, 2004: C1.

Additional Stats

Boston Red Sox 11
Oakland Athletics 0

Fenway Park
Boston, MA


Box Score + PBP:

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