Series: Game 1 of 3

Boston leads 1-0 (as of 5/18)

Game 1: Tuesday, May 18
Tampa Bay3
Game 2: Wednesday, May 19
Tampa Bay1
Game 3: Thursday, May 20
Tampa Bay9

Red Sox 7

(23-16, 12-10 away)

Devil Rays 3

(10-27, 7-10 home)

    7:15 PM ET, May 18, 2004

    Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida 

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    BOS 020000500 7 11 0
    TB 100000011 3 4 0

    W: T. Wakefield (3-2)

    L: M. Hendrickson (2-4)

    Wakefield allows one run in seven innings

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Tim Wakefield picked up a special win.

    "I wanted to win for my new son," he said after leading the Boston Red Sox over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 7-3 Tuesday night. "Being a new father, I'm pretty excited about that. It's been a whirlwind. I'm still on cloud nine."

    Backed by Mark Bellhorn's three-run homer, Wakefield (3-2) allowed one run and three hits in seven innings. It was Wakefield's first start since Trevor Stephen was born last Saturday.

    Wakefield had the game ball in his locker, next to the picture of his son. The ball will go to Trevor Stephen.

    "Tim was awesome," Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon said. "It's going to be a game that he always remembers."

    After allowing Carl Crawford's leadoff single in the first, the knuckleballer retired 13 straight before walking Jose Cruz Jr. with one out in the fifth. Wakefield struck out two and walked two, improving to 9-1 against Tampa Bay.

    "It's been a long week for Wake ... a good week," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "He pitched really, really well. I bet he's going to sleep good tonight."

    Wakefield has won 105 games with Boston, tying Pedro Martinez and Lefty Grove for eighth place.

    Bellhorn homered during a five-run seventh, helping boost the Red Sox to 18-8 against AL East opponents this season.

    Tino Martinez drove in two runs for Tampa Bay, which has lost four straight and 11 of 12. The Devil Rays (10-27) have the worst record in the major leagues.

    Mark Hendrickson (3-3) gave up six runs and eight hits in six-plus innings.

    "I was fighting all night," Hendrickson said. "I probably didn't have my best stuff, but I got through the first six innings. It caught up to me in the seventh and kind of steamrolled."

    The Devil Rays took a 1-0 lead when Crawford scored from third on Martinez's first-inning grounder. Crawford stole second for his 19th stolen base of the season before advancing to third on Rocco Baldelli's fly ball.

    Run-scoring singles by Bill Mueller and Pokey Reese put Boston ahead 2-1 in the second.

    Boston went up 7-1 in the seventh. Gabe Kapler and Damon had RBI doubles off Hendrickson. Bellhorn then greeted reliever Jeremi Gonzalez with his three-run shot.

    The Red Sox have 72 homers -- the most by any Tampa Bay opponent -- at Tropicana Field since the Devil Rays began play in 1998.

    Damon was hit in the neck and had his helmet knocked off at second base on his double by Tampa Bay shortstop Julio Lugo, who was running after a loose ball. Damon stayed in the game, but was replaced in center by Cesar Crespo in the bottom of the inning.

    "I'm actually fine," Damon said. "When Lugo hit my neck, my neck cracked about ten times. A little whiplash action. I'm penciled in the line up tomorrow. Just a little stiffness in the neck."

    Martinez made it 7-2 with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

    Tampa Bay first baseman Robert Fick was ejected by plate umpire Gary Cederstrom in the seventh. After hitting an infield fly, Fick was thrown out after yelling at the umpire from the dugout.

    Game notes

    Manny Ramirez (sore groin) was the Boston DH for the third straight game. He went 3-for-4 with a walk and has reached base safely in 16 straight games. ... Lugo batted fourth for the first time in his career. He was hitless in four at-bats. ... Mueller was back in the lineup after missing the past three games because of an inflamed right knee and went 3-for4. ... The Devil Rays recalled OF Jonny Gomes from Triple-A Durham and designated OF Midre Cummings for assignment. ... Wakefield made his 400th major league appearance, including 260 starts. ... Tampa Bay intend to call up RHP Rob Bell from Durham to start Wednesday against Boston.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press