ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Mike Lowell homered and Kevin Youkilis and Nick Green each drove in three runs to back Tim Wakefield’s pitching and help the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 10-6 on Saturday night.

Wakefield (3-1) allowed five runs in five-plus innings to improve to 20-5 lifetime against the Rays, including a 10-3 record at Tropicana Field, where the Red Sox won for just the second time in their last 13 games in the domed stadium.

Lowell hit a solo homer in the seventh off Brian Shouse. Youkilis had a two-run double off the left-hander in the sixth, while Green did most of his damage against Rays starter Jeff Niemann (2-3).

Carlos Pena hit his major league-leading 11th home run for Tampa Bay, a solo shot off Wakefield, who allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out five. The 20 wins against the Rays are his most against any team.

Outscored 19-2 in the first two games of the series, the Red Sox pounced on Niemann for two runs in the first, three in the second and one in the third to build a 6-1 lead.

Green, who had three hits, got his first two RBI’s on a second-inning infield single that glanced off the glove of diving second baseman Akinori Iwamura. He drove in the final run off the Rays starter with a single in the third.

Niemann, who won the No. 5 starter’s job in spring training, allowed six runs and seven hits in three innings, the shortest start of his career. The Rays nearly got him off the hook for the loss, scoring once in the fourth and three times in the fifth to trail 6-5.

Pena’s homer was the first off Wakefield this season. Evan Longoria had a two-run double in the fifth, giving him 15 RBI’s against the Red Sox this year – 10 in the first three games of this series.

Pat Burrell’s RBI double trimmed Tampa Bay’s deficit to one run before Boston pulled away for good.

The Red Sox loaded the bases against Grant Balfour in the sixth, and Youkilis sent his two-run double down the left field line for an 8-5 lead. Lowell led off the seventh with his fifth homer, and Youkilis drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in a second run in the inning.

Boston relievers Hideki Okajima and Ramon Ramirez worked three scoreless innings before Takashi Saito gave up a RBI single to Burrell in the ninth.

Notes: Red Sox LF Jason Bay left the game in the sixth with a left ankle bruise. … Boston DH David Oritz has gone 107 at-bats without a homer, his longest drought a 128 at-bat stretch from April 17-July 6, 2002. … Longoria had four RBI’s in each of the first two games of the series. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he’s the first player to drive in four or more runs against the Red Sox in conseuctive games since Manny Ramirez did it for Cleveland in September 2000. … Injured Red Sox RHP John Smoltz, recovering from shoulder surgery performed last summer, could resume throwing Wednesday or Thursday. … Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey was ejected during a pitching change in the seventh inning.

AP-ES-05-02-09 2241EDT


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