CHICAGO (AP) – Wade Miller ended his long victory drought with his strongest outing since joining the Boston Red Sox.

“I haven’t won for quite a while, so it’s a real good boost for my morale,” Miller said Saturday night after he pitched seven shutout innings to beat the Chicago White Sox 3-0 for his first win since May 30.

“It was about time, I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time,” he added. “It couldn’t have been against a better team the way they are playing.”

Manny Ramirez homered in the first and Jason Varitek connected in the ninth for the Red Sox. Mike Myers, Mike Timlin and Curt Schilling completed the seven-hit shutout.

Miller (3-4), bothered by shoulder problems a year ago in Houston and earlier this season with the Red Sox, matched his longest outing of the season.

He foiled White Sox rallies with timely pitches and allowed just five hits. He walked four and struck out four.

“He fights to find what he wants to do and what he’s able to do. He’s a bulldog out on that mound. As the game went on, his stuff definitely got better,” Varitek said.

Ramirez hit a two-run homer to right with two outs in the first off Orlando Hernandez after a walk to David Ortiz. It was Ramirez’s 27th of the season – he won Thursday’s series opener with a ninth-inning solo shot – and it increased his major league-leading RBI total to 89.

Varitek added a solo drive in the ninth off Damaso Marte.

In the bottom of the ninth, Schilling gave up singles to the first two batters, but got Aaron Rowand to hit into a double play before Ramirez made a nice catch of Timo Perez’s long drive to left, ending the game. Schilling earned his second save in three chances.

Hernandez (7-3), in his second start since coming off the disabled list for a second time after being bothered by a sore shoulder, allowed four hits and two runs in 6 2-3 innings. He has not won since June 8.

“Everybody in Boston’s lineup is a good hitter. Their third and fourth guys are unbelievable,” Hernandez said. “I threw a little mistake and he (Ramirez) hit it very good. I threw to the outside and it came back to the middle of the plate.”

The White Sox loaded the bases on a single by Joe Crede and two walks in the third with one out before Miller struck out Carl Everett and retired Paul Konerko on a fly to right to end the threat.

“That was the difference in the ballgame,” Konerko said. “You got to do the job and at least get back in the game.”

Tadahito Iguchi doubled in the fifth when Ramirez misjudged his liner to left and it sailed over his head, but Miller got out of that jam by fanning Everett again.

“It was nice to see him end up with a clean seven innings,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “I think he felt good about it and I know we did.”

Chicago’s Scott Podsednik led off the first with a single and appeared to have his 51st stolen base but was tagged out after sliding past the bag. Iguchi then walked and was caught off first and tagged out in a rundown.

“The first guy getting on in the first four innings is tough, but I was able to make pretty good pitches when I had to,” Miller said. “In the first inning, I got a little lucky with Podsednik going over the bag and the pickoff of Iguchi.”

The White Sox stranded seven runners, and squandering the opportunities early against Miller made it difficult.

“We just didn’t come up with the big hit,” Podsednik said. “He did a good job of keeping us off balance with off-speed stuff. He kept the ball out of the sweet spot of the bat, basically.”

Notes: Chicago RF Jermaine Dye sat out his third straight game with infected bug bites. Dye, who was hospitalized, could be back Sunday. … The crowd of 39,408 was the second-largest of the season at U.S. Cellular Field and represented the team’s 10th sellout this year. … The Red Sox have won eight of their last nine against the White Sox in Chicago, including two of the first three this season in a matchup between the defending World Series champs and the team with the best record in the majors.

AP-ES-07-23-05 2328EDT

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