August 12, 2006

All is Wells as Red Sox snap losing streak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - David Wells tossed seven superb
innings and Manny Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 26 as
the Boston Red Sox dumped the Baltimore Orioles 9-2 on Friday.

After losing the last five games the Red Sox were happy to
be back in cozy Fenway Park, halting a slide that had left them
3 games behind arch-rivals the New York Yankees in the AL

But the Boston win combined with the Yankees' loss to the
Los Angeles Angels trimmed the New York advantage to just two

"We said all along we love playing here," Red Sox second
baseman Mark Loretta told "The crowd was great tonight.
Getting off to a good start, getting a big lead was important.

"Hopefully, that will calm things down a little bit.

"We have a lot of games left to play, and I know there was
some anxiety around here when we were gone."

As happy as the Fenway faithful were to see their team put
up a win they were just as pleased to see Wells finally return
to form, picking up his first decision in three starts since
returning to the team from the disabled list.

The 43-year-old left-hander turned back the clock with a
solid effort, giving up just one run on nine hits while
striking out four and walking one to post career victory number

Wells (1-2) got plenty of support in the form of a
seven-run third inning, providing the big lefty with an 8-0
cushion with which to work.

Ramirez wasted no time extending his hitting streak to 26
with a first-inning RBI single to nose Boston in front.

The streak is the second-longest the Major Leagues this
season behind Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley,
whose 35-game one ended last Friday.

"I'm very impressed," said Loretta, who had three hits, a
pair of RBI and run scored in the win. "I don't know what the
number is of the streak; I don't even want to know.

"The guy is consistent. He finds a way to zone in every
at-bat and very rarely does he give away an at-bat or swing at
bad pitches. He's in a good groove right now."


Ramirez followed up with his second hit of the night in the
third, driving in Loretta to trigger the seven-run burst that
put the contest out of reach.

Baltimore starter Adam Loewen (2-4) was saddled with the
loss after being rocked for six runs on six hits in just 2 1/3
innings of work.

In New York, Maicer Izturis, Garret Anderson and Vladimir
Guerrero homered and rookie Joe Saunders provided six-plus
innings of sharp pitching as the Angels beat the Yankees 7-4.

It was the fifth win in seven games for the Angels, keeping
the pressure on the Oakland Athletics who lead the AL west by
three games.

Saunders (4-0) admitted to a sleepless night before facing
the Yankees but looked sharp, allowing three runs -- two earned
-- on six hits while walking two and striking out four to seal
his fourth consecutive decision.

The Angels got to Yankees starter Cory Lidle early,
Anderson slamming a solo home run in the second and Izturis
following up with a two-run blast in the third to put Los
Angeles 3-0 ahead.

(Writing by Steve Keating in Toronto)