Ortiz, Lowell power Sox past Devil Rays

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BOSTON (AP) – David Ortiz drove in four runs, Mike Lowell added a two-run homer and the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 8-4 Friday night despite losing David Wells to another knee injury.

Jonathan Papelbon set a rookie record for most successful save opportunities to start a season with his 17th. Gregg Olson of Baltimore had 16 in 1989.

Boston also overcame two homers by Carl Crawford, who went 2-for-5 and is 10-for-14 with three homers and six stolen bases in his last three games. Tampa Bay is 2-15 in its past 17 games at Fenway Park.

Wells, making just his second start of the year, pitched well in 4 1-3 innings against the team with the lowest batting average in the majors. He allowed one run on Crawford’s homer in the fourth and five hits, with no walks or strikeouts.

The 43-year-old left-hander, activated before the game after being on the disabled list since April 14 with a sprained right knee, was hit on that knee by Travis Lee’s liner in the fifth inning. He winced in pain, fell to the ground and was helped off the field.

But an examination showed only a deep bruise with “no immediate evidence of a serious injury,” Red Sox medical director Dr. Thomas Gill said. Wells was to be checked further on Saturday.

Julian Tavarez (1-0) pitched 2 1-3 innings in relief of Wells. Papelbon retired Crawford on a liner to left with runners at second and third to end it.

Scott Kazmir (7-3) has Tampa Bay’s last three wins over Boston and allowed just four singles through four shutout innings. But the Red Sox took the lead for good in the fifth on Ortiz’s three-run double that gave him 45 RBIs.

With one out, Wily Mo Pena and Alex Gonzalez singled, and Kevin Youkilis walked. After Mark Loretta flied out, Ortiz cleared the bases with a shot to left-center.

The Red Sox made it 6-1 in the next inning. Jason Varitek drew a leadoff walk and Lowell followed with his seventh homer. They loaded the bases again when first baseman Lee was charged with an error as Trot Nixon’s infield popup fell safely before Gonzalez and Youkilis singled. Loretta then hit a sacrifice fly.

Tavarez allowed two runs in the sixth on an RBI single by Damon Hollins and a sacrifice fly by Lee that cut the lead to 6-3.

Nixon’s RBI single after Lowell’s double made it 7-3 before Crawford hit a solo shot, his fourth homer of the year, in the eighth off Keith Foulke. Ortiz singled in the final run of the game in the eighth.

Wells had undergone offseason knee surgery and began the season on the disabled list. In his only start before Friday, he allowed seven runs and 10 hits in four innings of an 8-4 loss to Toronto. Two days later he went back on the disabled list.

He was coming off a solid rehabilitation outing last Sunday for Triple-A Pawtucket. But before the game was half over, he lay on his stomach on the ground after reaching for the inside of his knee once Lee’s liner hit it.

Wells sat up after about a minute, then got up after a few more minutes and was helped off the field.

Notes: Every Boston starter reached base through six innings. … Lowell’s homer was the 150th of his career. … Tavarez bailed Boston out when he replaced Wells in the fifth by getting Joey Gathright to line into a double play.

AP-ES-05-26-06 2308EDT


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