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Wakefield, Red Sox hand D-Rays 7th straight loss

Red Sox 7, Devil Rays 1

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Tim Wakefield said he believes pitching indoors helps his knuckleball, and the numbers back him up.

Wakefield allowed one run over six innings and Kevin Youkilis hit a three-run homer to lead the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 7-1 on Friday night.

Wakefield (12-9) gave up six hits and three walks, striking out seven as he won for the fifth time in six starts. He improved to 17-2 against the Devil Rays, the most wins by a Tampa Bay opponent. He is 8-0 at Tropicana Field.

"I like pitching here," Wakefield said. "I like pitching inside. The ball seems to move a lot more in a dome."

Wakefield is surprised about his success against the Devil Rays.

"I had no idea that was the case," Wakefield said. "I'm excited about that. It's not an automatic win against these guys. They've got a pretty good lineup over there."

While Boston has won seven of eight, the Devil Rays have lost seven in a row, getting outscored 71-21. Tampa Bay is 5-24 since June 25.

Jason Hammel (1-1) threw five scoreless innings, then was pulled after allowing consecutive one-out walks in the sixth. Youkilis, in an 0-for-11 slide, gave Boston a 3-1 lead with his three-run drive off Juan Salas.

"You can't judge this game by the first five innings played," Youkilis said. "You have to play the whole game and that's where we came back and scored a lot of runs and got the 'W."

Boston loaded the bases later in the sixth, but right fielder Delmon Young made a running catch on Coco Crisp's two-out liner.

Hammel retired his first 11 batters before David Ortiz lined a single to right with two outs in the fourth. Making his second start and 12th appearance overall of the season, Hammel gave up two runs and one hit in 5 1/3 innings.

"I felt good mentally," said Hammel, who was on a pitch count. "I was locked in. Sometimes the body doesn't catch up."

Dioner Navarro put the Devil Rays up 1-0 with an RBI single in the second. Tampa Bay wasted a chance for a big inning when Carl Crawford grounded out with two outs and the bases loaded.

"We had chances against Wakefield, and we didn't take advantage of it," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "And he's always going to settle in if you allow him to do so."

Tampa Bay went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring against Wakefield. All the chances came in the first three innings.

"The environment really comes into play and the elements really do something to his pitches more than anyone else's," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "We certainly weren't doing anything offensively early, and the way he pitched allowed us to be patient so we could do something."

Crisp had a two-run double during a four-run eighth that made it 7-1. J.D. Drew, who stopped an 0-for-12 skid, and Doug Mirabelli had RBI singles.

Game notes
Francona said RHP Curt Schilling (right shoulder) likely will rejoin the rotation on Aug. 5 or 6. ... Hammel threw 88 pitches. ... The Devil Rays traded minor league RHP Seth McClung to Milwaukee for RHP Grant Balfour. ... Tampa Bay activated C Josh Paul (left elbow) from the 60-day DL and designated C Raul Casanova for assignment. ... Crawford is 7-for-12 with 19 RBIs this season with the bases loaded. ... Devil Rays 3B Akinori Iwamura was given a single when his liner with two outs in the fourth struck Navarro, who was running from first toward second base. ... Boston's Julio Lugo went 0-for-4, which ended his career-high 15-game hitting streak.