BOSTON (AP) – Manny Ramirez homered, and he walked twice in Boston’s five-run second inning on Saturday night, staking Tim Wakefield to a big early lead and helping the Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-3.

Wakefield (2-4) had lost three consecutive decisions, but his teammates eliminated the suspense early and sent Baltimore to its fourth straight loss – and 11th in 14 games.

The knuckleballer allowed three runs, seven hits, two walks, a wild pitch, a hit batter and struck out three over six innings as the Red Sox beat the Orioles for the 10th straight time.

Erik Bedard (4-2) retired the Red Sox in order in the first inning, fell apart in the second and faced three batters without getting any out in the third. He gave up six runs – five earned – on seven hits and three walks, striking out two.

Bedard, who threw 50 pitches in the second inning alone, has lost two decisions in a row after starting the season 4-0.

Ramirez and Mike Lowell walked to start the second, Wily Mo Pena and Trot Nixon singled and, one out later, Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run single. Kevin Youkilis singled in a run and another scored on Mark Loretta’s fielder’s choice.

Gonzalez scored to make it 5-0 when Ramon Hernandez couldn’t handle strike three on David Ortiz, a potential inning-ender. Ramirez walked for the second time in the inning before Lowell popped foul to first base for the third out.

Melvin Mora had an RBI double in the third to make it 5-1 before Doug Mirabelli hit an RBI double. Chris Gomez hit a two-run homer in the fourth, but Boston scored again in the bottom half, on Ramirez’s homer over the seats above the Green Monster.

The benches cleared in the eighth when Julian Tavarez hit Luis Matos in the hip. But the two were separated without further incident.

Up next, Gomez hit a Wall-scraping double to put runners on second and third and chase Tavarez. Mike Timlin got Nick Markakis to pop up to the shortstop to end the inning.

Notes: Gonzalez had five RBIs in his first 24 games and three in the last two. … Orioles LHP Bruce Chen will be skipped in the rotation and work out of the bullpen. His regular start was scheduled on Wednesday. “He’s been really ineffective,” manager Sam Perlozzo said. “Right now it’s a one-time thing.” … OF Jeff Conine, just 4-for-30 lifetime against Wakefield, was replaced in the starting lineup by Gomez. Conine is expected to return to the lineup on Sunday. … Miguel Tejada started his second straight game at SS after playing five as DH due to knee and hamstring soreness. … OF Trot Nixon, a lefty, stayed in the lineup against lefty Bedard. Nixon entered the game 1-for-3 against lefties. … OF Coco Crisp is making progress in his recovery from a broken finger. He can’t yet grip a bat. … LHP David Wells played long toss in the outfield before the game.

AP-ES-05-06-06 2230EDT