Rays hold off late rally, end Sox's four-game win streak

BOSTON (AP) -- Scott Kazmir tried shaking out the pain in his left hand, and Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon knew it was time for another slow walk to the pitcher's mound.

"I went out there very slowly," Maddon said. "You just don't know. You just don't want another bit of bad news."

Kazmir left in the sixth inning with muscle cramps in his left thumb, but the Devil Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 5-1 on Thursday night thanks to two homers from Jonny Gomes and a go-ahead passed ball against otherwise tough Tim Wakefield.

Kazmir (3-1) held Boston to four hits and a walk, allowing Dustan Mohr's solo homer while striking out seven in 5 2/3 innings to stop Boston's four-game winning streak. He was pulled after 101 pitches -- reluctantly -- with a 2-2 count on Manny Ramirez.

"I knew it was a cramp," said Kazmir, who told reporters he had a similar problem in high school but gave Maddon contradictory answers when asked if it had ever happened before.

That sent a scare through Maddon, who has now had six players leave games because of injuries already this season -- two of them on Opening Day. Four have gone on the disabled list -- the most in the majors -- and Tampa Bay is already looking for a starting pitcher for Saturday.

"I knew he wanted to stay out there," the manager said. "But it was too awkward to leave him in."

Travis Harper pitched 2 2/3 innings before loading the bases in the ninth and Dan Miceli got two outs for his fourth save, striking out Trot Nixon and retiring pinch-hitter Jason Varitek on a flyout.

Wakefield (1-3) allowed three runs -- two of them earned -- four hits and two walks, striking out two in eight innings. In his previous start Saturday, he pitched a complete game but lost 3-0; the Red Sox have scored a total of one run in his three losses.

"I thought he pitched great, and it happens sometimes," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "Your turn comes up and they don't score runs for you. If he keeps pitching like that, he'll win a lot of games."

The knuckleballer hadn't allowed a runner before walking Jorge Cantu on four pitches with one out in the fourth. Travis Lee
doubled down the right-field line to score Cantu, with Wily Mo Pena
grabbing the ball with his bare hand to keep it from rattling around to the outfield wall for even more.

Lee stole third on strike three to Gomes and scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball. It was the sixth passed ball of the season for Josh Bard, who is Wakefield's personal catcher.

"I know it's tough to catch Wake. It's just unfortunate that one of the balls that got away put them ahead," third baseman Mike Lowell said. "He's got a tough job, playing once every five days."

Gomes homered in the seventh to make it 3-1 and again in the ninth to give the Devil Rays a 4-1 lead -- both times swinging at the first pitch and both over the signs above the Green Monster. It was his second career multihomer game.

Damon Hollins and Ty Wigginton hit consecutive doubles to make it 5-1.

Tampa Bay had lost eight in a row in Boston, but Kazmir has now started its last three wins at Fenway Park.

Game notes
Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford returned to the lineup after missing one game with a sore right shoulder. ... Maddon said he had not decided on a starter for Saturday's game against Texas but that it would probably be a minor-league call-up. ... Edgar Martinez
presented Red Sox slugger David Ortiz with the outstanding designated hitter award before the game. Jim Rice presented Varitek and Ramirez with silver slugger awards. Varitek and Lowell also received his Gold Glove in a pregame ceremony. ... Josh Beckett
professed apathy about Friday night's matchup with A.J. Burnett. "I don't have to face him. These guys do," he said. "There's definitely some significance, but I don't put too much emphasis on it." ... The Red Sox called up infielder/oufielder Willie Harris from Triple-A Pawtucket. ... Wigginton has three errors in the last two games.