Sox strike down D-Rays

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BOSTON (AP) – Josh Beckett struck out seven in six shutout innings for his fourth consecutive win, and David Ortiz snapped out of a slump with two hits and an RBI on Thursday night to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Beckett (7-1) coasted through 101 pitches, giving up four hits and a walk before leaving with a 3-0 lead. Keith Foulke pitched a scoreless seventh and Mike Timlin ran into trouble before Jonathan Papelbon got the last four outs for his 16th save in 16 tries.

Doug Waechter (0-3) gave up three runs and 11 hits with two walks and three strikeouts. The Red Sox helped him out by stranding 10 of the baserunners he allowed in 5 1-3 innings, and 15 in all.

Carl Crawford cooled off – just a little. A day after going 5-for-5 with five runs and four stolen bases, the Devil Rays center fielder went 3-for-4, stole two bases and made a diving catch to end the eighth.

Ortiz was 0-for-9 in the two previous games, both losses to the Yankees. Manny Ramirez went 1-for-4 with a walk after going 8-for-12 with four homers and 10 RBIs in the three-game series against New York.

Kevin Youkilis led off the first with a single, took second on a groundout and scored on Ortiz’s single. In the third, Ortiz singled again and scored on Jason Varitek’s base hit.

Wily Mo Pena led off the sixth with a grounder that shortstop Julio Lugo fielded and threw over the head of first baseman Greg Norton for a single and an error. Pena took third on Alex Gonzalez’s sacrifice bunt – the throw to first barely got him – and scored when Mark Loretta singled to chase Waechter.

Chad Harville got Ortiz and Ramirez with runners on first and second to end the sixth, but he gave up Boston’s fourth run in the seventh when Trot Nixon walked, Varitek singled and, one out later, Pena walked to load the bases.

Gonzalez’s fly to right was too shallow to score the runner. But when Harville got Youkilis to swing at a wild pitch for strike three, the ball went to the backstop, Youkilis took off for first and Nixon scored.

The Devil Rays scored on three straight singles off Timlin, including Jonny Gomes’ deep line drive off the fence in center field that was only a single because the runners had to hold up to make sure it wasn’t caught. Papelbon struck out Ty Wigginton with runners on first and third to end the threat.

Notes: Crawford struck out in the third to end a streak of six consecutive hits. He singled in the first inning and stole second. … LHP Scott Kazmir, scheduled to start on Friday, was the winning pitcher in the Devil Rays’ last three victories over the Red Sox. He’s the first lefty to beat Boston in Fenway three times before his 23rd birthday since before World War I, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … 2B Jorge Cantu went 0-for-4 in an extended spring training game. … OF Rocco Baldelli took the day off from a minor-league rehab stint after going 4-for-7 in his first two games with Triple-A Durham. He is expected to stay another two weeks. … Red Sox LHP David Wells will be monitored but won’t be on a specific pitch limit when he starts on Friday night for the first time since April 12. He threw 66 pitches in a rehab start in Scranton. … OF Coco Crisp (broken finger) was 0-for-5 with a walk and a stolen base in an extended spring training game.

AP-ES-05-25-06 2229EDT


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