Sox complete sweep of O’s in grand fashion


BOSTON (AP) – Jason Varitek hit a grand slam and the Boston Red Sox beat Baltimore 10-3 Sunday to tie a franchise record with their 11th consecutive win over the Orioles.

Lenny DiNardo pitched five sharp innings to earn his first career victory. DiNardo, making his fourth start of the season and fifth of his career, allowed two runs – one earned – and two hits. He struck out five and walked five.

Varitek gave him all the support he needed in the first inning. He hit a two-out 0-2 fastball from Kris Benson (4-3) into the Baltimore bullpen in right field to give the Red Sox a 4-1 lead. It was the second career grand slam for Varitek and first of the season for the Red Sox, who improved to 6-0 against Baltimore this season and have won four straight overall.

After getting two quick outs to start the game, DiNardo walked four consecutive batters to force in a run. But Kevin Millar struck out swinging with the bases loaded to end the first, and the left-hander settled down from there.

DiNardo (1-1) needed just seven pitches to retire the side in the second inning. He got Millar to ground into a double play to strand two runners in the third and allowed just one hit total in the fourth and fifth innings before being relieved by Julian Tavarez.

Benson allowed nine runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings for Baltimore, which ended its road trip 0-5 and has lost 12 of 15 games.

Melvin Mora scored on DiNardo’s throwing error in the third to pull Baltimore within two but the Red Sox scored five runs in the fifth.

Trot Nixon and Mike Lowell each had two-run doubles in the inning. Lowell’s bases-loaded double with one out chased Benson from the game. Wily Mo Pena then drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to extend Boston’s lead to 9-2.

Mark Loretta and Kevin Youkilis had three hits and Manny Ramirez went 2-for-2 for the Red Sox.

Jeff Conine went 1-for-2 with an RBI for the Orioles.

Notes: Left-hander David Wells and right-handed reliever David Riske threw bullpen sessions for Boston prior to the game. Wells is scheduled to throw another bullpen session Wednesday, while Riske is slated to pitch an inning for Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday. … DiNardo’s error in the third inning was Boston’s only error in its six-game homestand. … DiNardo became the first left-handed pitcher to record a win for the Red Sox this season. … Millar stranded six runners. … It was the shortest outing of the season for Benson. … The Orioles fell to 1-9 in games started by left-handed pitchers. … Baltimore hosts Boston on May 15 in the next matchup between the two teams.

AP-ES-05-07-06 1727EDT