63-40: Wakefield and some late offense get it done

No matter how many times they see it, the Devil Rays just can’t seem to make head or tail of the knuckleball. The Sox took the first game of the series yesterday, 7-1.

Tim Wakefield (12-9) stymied Tampa Bay for six innings, allowing just one run on six hits and three walks. He improved to 17-2 against the Rays in 24 starts lifetime with a 2.96 ERA, a staggering statistic. So basically he turns into Hoyt Wilhelm against Tampa. Talk about mismatch.

Actually, the Rays led 1-0 through the fifth inning. Starter Jason Hammel (1-1) allowed only one hit over five, but struggled with his control in the sixth, walking Alex Cora and Julio Lugo after striking out Doug Mirabelli. Maddon brought in Juan Salas, and Kevin Youkilis promptly homered over the left field wall to make it 3-1.

Manny Delcarmen was impressive in two innings of relief, and Kyle Snyder pitched a scoreless ninth to seal the game.

The Sox would rally again in the eighth to score four more runs on a barrage of hits off of reliever Shawn Camp. J.D. Drew had an RBI single, and Coco Crisp delivered a key double with two outs to score two men. Mirabelli also contributed an RBI single before the inning ended.

Boston seems to be doing a much better job at scoring men who reach, as they left only seven on base in this one. Lugo drew a walk and scored from the leadoff spot, but went 0-4, ending his hitting streak at 14 games.

Suddenly the Yankees’ win streak of last week is not looking so impressive anymore. They did it against Tampa Bay and Kansas City, remember. After getting shut out by the Royals on Friday, they split their doubleheader with the Orioles yesterday, so the lead stands at 8 games.


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