PHILADELPHIA – Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball fluttered, floated and baffled hitters all night.

Wakefield allowed two hits in eight innings, and Doug Mirabelli and Manny Ramirez hit three-run homers, leading the Boston Red Sox over the Philadelphia Phillies 8-0 on Friday night.

Wakefield (6-6) struck out six and walked two. Alan Embree allowed one hit in the ninth to complete the three-hitter.

“You’ve got to give Wakefield credit. We were really having trouble with his knuckleball,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “We got impatient and we started swinging hard.”

David Ortiz hit a two-run shot for the Red Sox, who have won five straight and 10 of 11 to move into first place in the AL East for the first time since April 21.Starting pitcher Jon Lieber, Bobby Abreu and Chase Utley had singles for Philadelphia, which has lost seven of 10 after winning 12 of 13.

“They have a tough lineup,” Wakefield said. “I concentrated on keeping the ball down. A misfire that stays up is going to get hit a long way, especially in this park.”

Lieber (8-7) allowed six runs and nine hits in five innings. He is 3-6 with a 7.28 ERA since starting the season 5-1.

Lieber beat Boston in Game 2 of the AL championship series last year, but lost Game 6 as the Red Sox came back from an 0-3 deficit to beat the Yankees and went on to win their first World Series championship since 1918.

“I’m a little embarrassed the way things are happening, but I’m not going to give up,” Lieber said. “I’ve never had a streak of starts where I’m constantly putting my teammates in a hole. It’s very frustrating.”

Wakefield struggled earlier in the season, but has allowed just one run in his last three starts, spanning 22 innings.

“That’s as good as we’ve seen him,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He’s capable of getting on a roll. When he gets in a rhythm, that ball moves all over the place.”

Trot Nixon doubled with one out in the second and went to third on Bill Mueller’s single. Mirabelli then hit a drive into the left-field seats for his third homer, giving the Red Sox a 3-0 lead. Johnny Damon and Edgar Renteria started the fifth with singles and Ramirez hit an opposite-field shot into the right-field seats one out later, putting Boston ahead 6-0.

Ramirez has six homers in the last 10 games and 17 this season. He’s tied with Duke Snider for 38th place on the career list with 407 homers.

Ortiz homered into the second deck in right field off Aaron Fultz in the ninth.

Wakefield’s only jam came in the eighth. He retired 12 straight batters before David Bell reached on an error by third baseman Mueller leading off the inning. Bell went to second on a passed ball, and pinch-hitter Endy Chavez walked with one out.

After Jimmy Rollins grounded to first base, Jason Michaels walked to load the bases, but Wakefield struck out Abreu to end the threat.

Notes: Phillies CF Kenny Lofton left the game with a right groin strain. He’ll be evaluated on Saturday. … Damon extended his hitting streak to 11 games with the hit in the fifth. … Wakefield hasn’t pitched a shutout since July 29, 1997, against Seattle. His last complete game was Aug. 19, 1998, against Kansas City. … The Red Sox are 3-6 in Philadelphia and 11-12 against the Phillies. … A sellout crowd of 45,090 turned out at Citizens Bank Park. … Boston’s Curt Schilling pitched in a simulated game, and will start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday. Schilling has been sidelined since April 24 with a right ankle injury. … Ramirez made a sliding, backhanded catch on a fly ball down the left-field foul line by Jim Thome in the fourth.

AP-ES-06-24-05 2247EDT

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