Lugo’s slam seals the deal as Sox break losing streak

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BOSTON (AP) – Josh Beckett had 10 strikeouts and tied for the major league lead with his 13th win as the Boston Red Sox snapped a three-game losing streak with a 10-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.

A bad call in the first inning deprived Boston’s J.D. Drew of a three-run homer, but the Red Sox didn’t need it.

Coco Crisp’s three-run triple in the fifth inning gave Boston a 4-3 lead and a revived Julio Lugo hit a grand slam in the eighth, driving in the last of the 10 runs allowed by starter Jose Contreras.

Lugo extended his hitting streak to 10 games by going 3-for-4 and is 19-for-38 in that span. In the 18 games before that, he was 3-for-46, lowering his batting average to .189. He is now at .225.

The Red Sox scored four runs in the fifth after Chicago had taken a 3-1 lead in the third on Jim Thome’s three-run homer.

Beckett (13-3) has allowed just seven homers after giving up a career-high 36 last season, his first with Boston. He went six innings, allowing four hits and two walks, both in the first when he worked out of the jam.

He struck out at least 10 for the sixth time and the first since April 10, 2005 with Florida, and tied Cleveland’s C.C. Sabathia with 13 wins.

Contreras (5-12) broke a tie for most losses in the AL with Ervin Santana of the Los Angeles Angels.

He retired the first two batters in the first before walking David Ortiz and hitting Manny Ramirez with a pitch. Drew then hit a ball to the opposite field, just clearing the left-field wall before it bounced back onto the field after hitting a low barrier in front of the first row.

The ball was ruled in play. Ortiz scored but Ramirez was thrown out at home. Manager Terry Francona was ejected for arguing with umpire Tim McClelland. Replays showed the ball cleared the wall.

Still, Contreras dropped his fifth consecutive start after losing the lead in an odd fifth inning.

Jason Varitek began it with a walk.

The infielders then overshifted to the right side and lefty Eric Hinske, starting at first to give Kevin Youkilis a rest, pushed a bunt past the vacant third base area into left field.

Lugo reached on a more traditional bunt when he beat Contreras’ throw to first, loading the bases. Crisp then lined his fifth triple in 14 games just inside the first base line.

Ortiz then drove in Crisp with another shot down the right field line but was thrown out trying for a double by Jermaine Dye. Ortiz strained his left shoulder sliding into second and left for pinch-hitter Alex Cora in the seventh.

After Thome’s homer, Beckett settled down and retired the next 10 batters. A.J. Pierzynski then singled but was thrown out trying to reach second.

Boston’s Mike Timlin pitched a perfect seventh giving him 14 2-3 scoreless innings in his last 10 outings.

Notes: Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber took batting practice before the game. … Tadahito Iguchi struck out three times in three at-bats against Beckett then flied out in the eighth against Hideki Okajima. … Timlin made his 987th appearance, tying Lindy McDaniel for 13th on the all-time list.

AP-ES-07-20-07 2214EDT

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