BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox needed another long outing from Tim Wakefield, and the 42-year-old knuckleballer came through for the second start in a row.
Wakefield pitched a five-hitter for his second consecutive complete game and Boston's sixth straight win -- this one a seven-inning, 10-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins as rain shortened the opener of a scheduled day-night doubleheader."Kind of fell into that one by accident," Wakefield said. "I'll take it."Wakefield (2-1) struck out four and walked one for his 32nd career complete game. He became the oldest pitcher in Red Sox history to pitch a complete game -- breaking the record he set in his previous start, when he rescued a beleaguered bullpen by taking a no-hitter into the eighth against Oakland.Wakefield is the oldest pitcher to throw back-to-back complete games since fellow knuckleballer Charlie Hough, who was 44 when he did it in 1992 for the Chicago White Sox.Wednesday's rain-shortened outing left the Red Sox bullpen well-rested as the teams tried to complete the two-game series during Minnesota's only scheduled trip to Boston this season. Tuesday night's game was rained out and rescheduled for Wednesday afternoon, but the teams couldn't quite finish seven innings before umpires called for the tarp."We'll take 'em however we can get 'em," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "The weather cooperated enough that it didn't get in the way of his outing, and we didn't bring anyone else in, either."The game was called after a 1-hour, 25-minute delay -- Boston's first rain-shortened game since Oct. 1, 2006, when Devern Hansack threw an unofficial, five-inning no-hitter. In an odd twist, Hansack was released before Wednesday's game to make room on the roster for infielder Jeff Bailey.The night game, in which Brad Penny was scheduled to face Minnesota lefty Francisco Liriano, was in jeopardy because of forecasts of more rain. If the teams can't play, the series would finish Thursday with a 1:35 p.m. game, Francona said.The decision to end the first game and try to play the second -- instead of waiting out the rain to get in one full game -- was made by the umpires."When you're down 10-1 with two men still on -- it's kind of a little silly there. How many times are you going to wait four, five hours for a rain delay?" Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Waiting around like that, umpires aren't going to do that. ... But definitely the score of the game makes it a little easier to bang this game. What are you going to say?"Scott Baker (0-2) gave up a two-run homer in each of the first three innings -- to Kevin Youkilis, Nick Green and Mike Lowell -- and the Red Sox added four runs in the seventh before the tarp came out.Carlos Gomez doubled and scored on Justin Morneau's single in the fifth for Minnesota's only run.Lowell was 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and J.D. Drew was 3-for-3 with a walk and two runs. David Ortiz missed his first homer of the year by a few feet, hitting a drive off the top of the Green Monster for a leadoff double in the seventh.Craig Breslow walked the next three batters, forcing in a run, then R.A. Dickey came on and gave up a run-scoring single to Lowell, a sacrifice fly to George Kottaras and Green's blooper that bounced into the stands down the first-base line for an RBI double.Baker gave up six runs on 10 hits and a walk, striking out two in 4 2/3 innings.The afternoon start messed with local traffic enough that the ballpark was only about one-third full for the first pitch. Although the crowd was closer to the announced sellout by the time it started raining in the top of the seventh, the weather sent many fans in search of cover.Red Sox groundskeeper Dave Mellor came out to talk to plate umpire Tom Hallion as the seventh-inning stretch began, but they kept the tarp off the field. After Green's double, the umpires motioned for the grounds crew.
It was Francona's 50th birthday. ... Jason Bay was robbed of extra bases on Michael Cuddyer's diving catch in the third inning. ... Red Sox SS Julio Lugo made a rehab appearance at Triple-A Pawtucket.