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Red Sox dominate three-game series from start to finish

BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Red Sox found the right combination to
start a surge -- home field and stellar pitching.

Bronson Arroyo got his first win at Fenway Park since last Aug.
26 with the Red Sox fourth straight strong performance by a starter
and they swept the punchless Cincinnati Reds 6-1 Wednesday night.

The starters "just have to give us a shot to win," Kevin
Millar said. "Offensively, we're going to score runs, especially
at home."

The Red Sox went 2-4 on a trip to the St. Louis Cardinals and
Chicago Cubs in which they totaled 27 runs. Then they returned home
and won all three games against the Reds, outscoring them 23-4 and
outhitting them 36-15. Boston is 20-9 at home, while Cincinnati
dropped to 6-24 on the road.

"This is a tough place to play," Cincinnati infielder Joe
Randa said. "You look at their offensive numbers here and how well
they play at home. They've got one of the best lineups in the
game."

Boston's struggling rotation also is coming around. Beginning
with seven strong innings by Tim Wakefield in an 8-1 win in Chicago
on Sunday and continuing with Matt Clement, David Wells and Arroyo,
starters have allowed just five runs and 17 hits in 29 innings.

"Everything in baseball's contagious," Boston manager Terry
Francona said. "When you're going well, guys are picking each
other up."

Arroyo (5-3) was 0-3 in his previous seven starts after going
9-0 in his 17 before that. On Wednesday, he struck out eight,
walked two and allowed six hits and a run in seven innings.

"It's the first time I've felt good throwing the ball" in four
games, said Arroyo, who had an effective fastball and curve. "Any
time you have two good pitches going into the game, it allows you
to pitch free and easy."

David Ortiz's bat helps the pitchers relax.

He drove in three runs with two doubles off Aaron Harang (4-5),
leading Boston to a 6-0 lead before Cincinnati's 16-inning
scoreless streak ended when Ken Griffey Jr. scored in the seventh
on Arroyo's wild pitch.

"Every time he comes up to the plate I feel he's going to drive
in a run," Arroyo said of Ortiz, who is second in the AL with 55
RBI.

Manny Ramirez and Edgar Renteria also had two hits each, more
than enough offense to beat the Reds.

"We scored four runs in three games," Cincinnati manager Dave
Miley said. "That's not necessarily a good thing."

The Reds did improve after managing just one hit in Tuesday's
7-0 loss to Wells.

On Wednesday, consecutive doubles by Renteria and Ortiz gave the
Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the third, but they left runners in scoring
position in three of the first four innings.

They made the most of their opportunities in the four-run fifth.

The first four batters hit safely -- singles by Johnny Damon and
Renteria, a two-run double by Ortiz and a single by Ramirez, who
took second on the throw to the infield. After Trot Nixon walked,
Millar loaded the bases with a walk.

Jason Varitek struck out for the third time, but Bill Mueller
lined a two-run single over the head of second baseman Ryan Freel.
Ramirez's RBI single made it 6-0 in the sixth.

Arroyo allowed four runners through six innings. Then
Cincinnati, which scored at least 10 runs in four of its five games
-- all at home -- before the Boston series, finally scored in the
seventh. Griffey led off with a single, went to third on Wily Mo
Pena's single and scored on a wild pitch on which Adam Dunn
walked.

Game notes
Ramirez got his AL-leading eighth outfield assist when he
threw out Pena trying to stretch his seventh-inning single into a
double. ... Pena struck out in seven of his 11 at-bats in the
series, including twice on Wednesday. ... The Reds were swept for
the third time in their last four series on the road. ... Boston
had at least 10 hits for the fourth consecutive game. ... Boston
went over the one million attendance mark on Wednesday in its 29th
home game, matching the club record set last year. It has drawn
1,019,409 fans this year and sold out its last 174 home games.