BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox got five runs in the first inning, another strong outing from the rejuvenated Bartolo Colon and one more win in friendly Fenway Park.
They even got a three-run homer from an ailing Jason Varitek.Boston beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-3 on Wednesday night, the 150th victory of Colon's career and another sign of how big a bargain the 2005 Cy Young winner has been."I don't really think about the wins," Colon, who signed a minor league contract in spring training, said through a translator. "Every start I do, I'm starting to feel a little better."Colon (4-1) got his last win of 2007 on June 14. On Wednesday, he allowed one run in six innings under a contract worth $1.2 million plus performance and roster bonuses.The 35-year-old right-hander already has more than half as many wins as he totaled over the last two injury-plagued seasons with the Los Angeles Angels when he was 7-13 with a 5.72 ERA in 29 games. This season, he's looked more like the pitcher who won the Cy Young three years ago with a 21-8 record and a 3.48 ERA."He's been tremendous for us," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "To get a guy you didn't have when spring training started and all of a sudden he's right in the middle of the rotation helping us win games, it's been big."So was the offense, which sparked Boston to its 27th win in 34 games at Fenway Park, the best home record in the majors.It staked him to a 5-0 lead in the first inning and he finished with seven strikeouts and just one walk as he improved his career record to 150-96."It's a lot easier to pitch when you get five runs before people sit down in their seats," Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said.It also limited the Orioles' offensive options."If you put four or five on the board, I think it takes away the hit and run. It takes away the stolen base," Boston's Mike Lowell said. "They kind of feel like they have to slug and I think we match up well when any team has to do that."Varitek's three-run homer capped the five-run first against Garrett Olson (5-2). Varitek hadn't been feeling well and was replaced in the ninth by Kevin Cash."I wasn't feeling real good all game," Varitek said. "I'm pretty achy and [Francona] with the five-run lead decided to make the switch. ... [I'll] get a good night's sleep and we'll see."Olson held the Red Sox scoreless for the next four innings then allowed Lowell's solo shot in the sixth."The first inning's always the hardest," the left-hander said. "You've got to see what you have."Luke Scott homered for Baltimore in the fifth and Francona was forced to use Jonathan Papelbon with two outs in the ninth after Mike Timlin allowed two runs on Kevin Millar's RBI double and a run-scoring error by second baseman Dustin Pedroia.The closer retired Brian Roberts on a grounder to first baseman Kevin Youkilis and picked up his 19th save in 21 chances. He remained unscored on in 17 2/3 innings in his career against Baltimore.Colon's latest victory came in the same stadium where he earned his first -- a 9-5 win with Cleveland on June 7, 1997.Facing a team that scored 29 runs in its previous four games, he retired the side in order in the first, then could relax after his teammates gave him the 5-0 lead.Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single. He took off for second for a stolen base and kept going to third as Olson's throw to Millar went wild.Pedroia popped out, but J.D. Drew doubled, extending his hitting streak to 10 games with his 16th hit and 13th RBI in 30 at-bats. Drew took third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch.Olson's wildness continued with walks to Lowell and Youkilis. Then he fell behind 3-1 on Varitek, who hit the next pitch for his seventh homer."I thought he pitched real defensive," Trembley said.Colon was aggressive and finished the sixth inning -- and his outing -- by striking out Aubrey Huff and Millar."He even can dominate more," Lowell said. "He can really shut down teams and be very efficient with his pitches."
Manny Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 15 games, longest on the Red Sox this season. ... Markakis has hits in 12 of his last 13 games. ... Boston right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka threw about 50 pitches in his first bullpen session since going on the DL on May 30 with mild right shoulder tendinitis. He's scheduled to throw in the bullpen again Friday in Cincinnati. ... Francona said first baseman Sean Casey will appeal his three-game suspension stemming from a bench-clearing brawl with Tampa Bay last Thursday. "You kidding me? He's not going to miss the Cincinnati series" against his former team, Francona said.