NEW YORK, Reuters
Dave McCarty hit a three-run homer and Tim Wakefield pitched seven strong innings to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in one of just two games played in the American League on Monday.
The Red Sox snapped a two-game losing streak with the win and closed to within nine games of the first place New York Yankees in the AL East with their first victory since trading veteran shortstop Nomar Garciaparra.
Boston now trails the Texas Rangers by half a game in the AL wild card race.
Wakefield (7-6) allowed three runs on four hits while striking out three and walking four for Boston in the opener of a three-game series at Tropicana Field.
Wakefield, who celebrated his 30th birthday, is 10-1 lifetime against Tampa Bay.
Alan Embree came on in the eighth to get two outs before Keith Foulke got the final two outs for his 17th save of the season, completing the four-hitter.
Kevin Youkilis drove in a pair of runs for the Red Sox, while Doug Mirabelli and Johnny Damon both had two hits to pace Boston’s eight-hit attack.
Mark Hendrickson (8-9) allowed six runs — five earned — on six hits over 4 2/3 innings to take the loss.
He struck out one and walked two.
Three Tampa Bay relievers pitched 4 1/3 innings of two-hit shutout relief the rest of the way, but the Devil Rays couldn’t take advantage.
Tino Martinez hit a two-run homer to give the Devil Rays a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but the Red Sox scored three runs in the third on McCarty’s homer and three more in the fifth to take a 6-1 lead.
In the only other game, Vernon Wells hit a three-run homer to help the Toronto Blue Jays rout the Cleveland Indians 6-1.
Josh Phelps homered right after Wells blast to complete a four-run first inning for the Blue Jays, while All-Star Ted Lilly won his first game in more than a month.
Wells later left the game with a calf injury after fouling a ball off his leg and was listed as day-to-day, but said after the game he hopes to play on Tuesday.
Carlos Delgado had two hits and drove in a run for the Blue Jays, while Lilly (8-7) allowed one run on three hits over seven innings while striking out four and walking two.
Vinny Chulk and Jason Frasor completed the six-hitter for the Jays.
Cliff Lee (10-4) was rocked for the third straight game, allowing six runs — just two earned — on eight hits with six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.
He tossed his glove into the stands in frustration as he left the game.
Omar Vizquel had two hits for the Tribe, while Victor Martinez drove in the lone Cleveland run.