Series: Game 1 of 3

Boston leads 1-0 (as of 5/20)

Game 1: Monday, May 20
Chicago 0Final
Boston 9
Game 2: Tuesday, May 21
Chicago 8Final
Boston 3
Game 3: Wednesday, May 22
Chicago 2Final
Boston 0

White Sox 0

(24-21, 9-14 away)

Red Sox 9

(30-11, 13-7 home)

    7:05 PM ET, May 20, 2002

    Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts 

    123456789 R H E
    CWS 000000000 0 - -
    BOS 00511002 - 9 - -

    W: D. Lowe (7-1)

    L: T. Ritchie (3-5)

    Lowe lowers AL-leading ERA to 1.90 in seventh win

    BOSTON (AP) -- Derek Lowe doesn't give up many hits. In fact, teams rarely get the ball out of the infield against him.

    Derke Lowe

    Batters are hitting just .158 against Derek Lowe this season.

    Only four balls went that far as he allowed two hits in eight innings Monday night, leading the Boston Red Sox over the Chicago White Sox 9-0.

    "You want to get the guys out and I don't think any less of a fly ball out than I do a ground ball out," he said.

    His sinkerball is the best of his four pitches and has contributed to some eye-popping numbers for the converted closer, who failed in that role last year. In his previous start, he allowed five balls to the outfield in eight innings.

    He is 7-1, hasn't allowed a homer in 86 innings, leads the majors with a .158 batting average by opponents and is tops in the AL with a 1.90 ERA. And don't forget his no-hitter April 27.

    But he's not letting it go to his head.

    "It would be totally different if you saw somebody else doing it. You'd say, `That guy's having a pretty good year,' " Lowe said. "But it's me and I don't think about it. I'm just going out trying to win a game."

    He's already set a career high for wins. Boston's 30-11 record is the best in the majors and the team's second best 41-game mark in history.

    "This team's consistent," third baseman Shea Hillenbrand said. "You can't slack off" against any hitters.

    The Red Sox got the runs they needed in a five-run fifth against Todd Ritchie (3-5). Hillenbrand's three-run homer, his ninth of the year, landed in the first row of the right-field seats just to the left of the foul pole. It traveled just 303 feet.

    "I told Hilly it's just like real estate: location, location, location," said Tony Clark, who hit a 380-foot single Sunday.

    Ritchie allowed more than three earned runs for the first time in his 10 starts this season.

    "I made mistakes up in the zone and they took advantage," he said.

    Lowe gave up a leadoff infield single to Kenny Lofton in the first inning and a two-out single to Jeff Liefer in the eighth. He faced two batters over the minimum, striking out seven and walking two.

    "As a closer he was a power pitcher," Chicago's Jose Valentin said. "Now he's learned to pitch. You're always off-balance and he's got great movement on the ball."

    Rich Garces pitched the ninth and finished the combined three-hitter.

    Jason Varitek added a two-run homer, his fourth, against Kelly Wunsch in the eighth.

    But the story was Lowe as he pitched at least seven innings for the eighth time in nine starts.

    He pitched the first no-hitter at Fenway Park since 1965 in his fifth start of the season, beating Tampa Bay 10-0.

    In his first start, he took a no-hit bid into the eighth before Baltimore's Tony Batista reached on a leadoff single to Hillenbrand.

    "I have confidence, but not to the point where I think I'm invincible," Lowe said.

    The suspense ended early Monday as Hillenbrand fielded Lofton's high hopper but couldn't throw out the speedy leadoff hitter. Lowe then got Ray Durham to ground into a double play and Magglio Ordonez to strike out.

    Lowe helped himself in the seventh with an outstanding fielding play. Lofton led off with a walk, stole second and took third on Durham's groundout. Ordonez then hit a bouncer in front of the plate. Lowe rushed in to field it and flipped to Varitek, who tagged Lofton out.

    Varitek started the five-run fifth when he was hit by a pitch. He took second on a wild pitch, third on Johnny Damon's one-out single and scored on Jose Offerman's sacrifice fly.

    Nomar Garciaparra singled Damon to third and Brian Daubach sent him home with another single. Then Hillenbrand homered.

    The Red Sox made it 6-0 in the fourth on doubles by Varitek and Damon. They added a run in the fifth on a double by Daubach and a single by Clark.

    Game notes

    Daubach extended his streak to seven games with at least one RBI. ... Five Boston batters had at least two hits each through five innings. ... Durham is in an 0-for-14 slump. ... Lofton has led off 20 of his 42 games with a hit or walk. ... Boston leads the majors with seven shutouts.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press