Series: Game 1 of 4

Boston leads 1-0 (as of 5/25)

Game 1: Thursday, May 25
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Game 2: Friday, May 26
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Game 3: Saturday, May 27
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Game 4: Sunday, May 28
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Devil Rays 1

(21-27, 9-16 away)

Red Sox 4

(27-18, 13-8 home)

7:05 PM ET, May 25, 2006

Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts 

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TB 000000010 1 9 0
BOS 10100110 - 4 13 0

W: J. Beckett (7-1)

L: D. Waechter (0-3)

S: J. Papelbon (16)

Beckett wins fourth straight as Red Sox sink Rays

BOSTON (AP) -- Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon finally figured out Thursday night what the rest of baseball already knew about Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett.

"I had never really seen him before," Maddon said. "I didn't know that he had all that kind of stuff. He was really good."

Beckett struck out seven in six shutout innings for his fourth consecutive win, and David Ortiz snapped out of a slump with two hits and an RBI to lead Boston to a 4-1 victory over the Devil Rays. Beckett (7-1) allowed just an infield single through 4 1-3 innings and left after 101 pitches with a 3-0 lead, having given up four hits and a walk.

"He had no-hit stuff tonight. He really did. It was electric," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "They had some real strong, long at-bats ... and just kind of made Josh run out of gas."

Keith Foulke pitched a scoreless seventh and Mike Timlin ran into trouble before Jonathan Papelbon got the last four outs for his 16th save in 16 tries.

Beckett, who spent the first five years of his career with the Florida Marlins, may be new to Maddon, but teammate Mark Loretta remembers him from the NL. Asked if he had seen Beckett pitch like that before, Loretta said, "Yeah. Too many times."

Beckett remembers Loretta as a tough out in the lineup, but he hadn't paid too much attention to the second baseman's defense until they both came to the Red Sox. On Thursday, Loretta turned Julio Lugo's extra-base hit into an out by chasing down a missed cutoff and shuffling the ball to third.

"That was unbelievable," Beckett said. "I was standing there in awe."

Doug Waechter (0-3) gave up three runs and 11 hits with two walks and three strikeouts. The Red Sox helped him out by stranding 10 of the baserunners he allowed in 5 1-3 innings, and 15 in all.

Carl Crawford cooled off -- just a little. A day after going 5-for-5 with five runs and four stolen bases, the Devil Rays center fielder went 3-for-4, stole two bases to give him 19 for the season and made a diving catch to end the eighth.

Ortiz was 0-for-9 in the two previous games, both losses to the Yankees. Manny Ramirez went 1-for-4 with a walk after going 8-for-12 with four homers and 10 RBI in the three-game series against New York.

Lugo led off the sixth with a double to center, then took off for third when the relay bounced off shortstop Alex Gonzalez's glove and trickled toward third. Loretta ran after it and tossed the ball to third baseman Mike Lowell to get the runner.

"Basically, all I did was not take it for granted that the ball would be caught," Loretta said. "It was a fluky play. You won't see that again this year, I bet."

Kevin Youkilis led off the first with a single, took second on a groundout and scored on Ortiz's single. In the third, Ortiz singled again and scored on Jason Varitek's base hit.

Wily Mo Pena led off the sixth with a grounder that Lugo fielded and threw over the head of first baseman Greg Norton for a single and an error. Pena took third on Gonzalez's sacrifice bunt -- the throw to first barely got him -- and scored when Loretta singled to chase Waechter.

Chad Harville got Ortiz and Ramirez with runners on first and second to end the sixth, but he gave up Boston's fourth run in the seventh when Trot Nixon walked, Varitek singled and, one out later, Pena walked to load the bases.

Gonzalez's fly to right was too shallow to score the runner. But when Harville got Youkilis to swing at a wild pitch for strike three, the ball went to the backstop, Youkilis took off for first and Nixon scored.

The Devil Rays scored on three straight singles off Timlin, including Jonny Gomes' deep line drive off the fence in center field that was only a single because the runners had to hold up to make sure it wasn't caught. Papelbon struck out Ty Wigginton with runners on first and third to end the threat.

Game notes

Crawford struck out in the third to end a streak of six consecutive hits. He singled in the first inning and stole second. ... LHP Scott Kazmir, scheduled to start on Friday, was the winning pitcher in the Devil Rays' last three victories over the Red Sox. He's the first lefty to beat Boston in Fenway Park three times before his 23rd birthday since before World War I, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... 2B Jorge Cantu went 0-for-4 in an extended spring training game. ... OF Rocco Baldelli took the day off from a minor-league rehab stint after going 4-for-7 in his first two games with Triple-A Durham. He is expected to stay another two weeks. ... Red Sox LHP David Wells will be monitored but won't be on a specific pitch limit when he starts on Friday night for the first time since April 12. He threw 66 pitches in a rehab start in Scranton. ... OF Coco Crisp (broken finger) was 0-for-5 with a walk and a stolen base in an extended spring training game.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press