Boston (54-44) at Tampa Bay (35-64)

Fair Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 74° F
  • Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Mon Jul 25, 2005
  • TV: NESN, WPXM
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays have rarely given David Wells much trouble. That trend should continue with the kind of run support the Boston Red Sox have been supplying.

Wells will look to continue his success against the last-place Devil Rays when the teams open a three-game series.

Wells is 10-1 with a 2.52 ERA in 14 career starts against Tampa Bay. He gave up two runs and six hits over seven innings in a 9-4 win over the Devil Rays at Fenway Park on Wednesday.

The 42-year-old left-hander benefited from another offensive surge by the Red Sox, who staked him to a 6-0 lead after one inning. Wells leads the majors with 8.7 runs of support per game.

“I think he can get used to having a lead for sure,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “But at the same time once he gets that lead he knows what to do with it.”

Wells, who walked one and struck out four on Wednesday, is 6-1 with a 3.36 ERA over his last 10 starts.

The Red Sox own a 1 1/2 -game lead over the second place New York Yankees in the AL East after splitting a four-game series with the league-best Chicago White Sox.

David Ortiz and Jason Varitek each homered, and Manny Ramirez got his major league-leading 90th RBI, but the Red Sox were beaten 6-4 on Sunday.

Boston, which stranded 11 runners, lost for the sixth time in 10 games.

“It seemed like every time we came up with guys in scoring position and they called to the bullpen, they got the job done,” center fielder Johnny Damon said. “This series we left a lot of guys on base.”

Tampa Bay improved to 7-3 during its 13-game stretch against AL East opponents after sweeping Baltimore in a three-game set. The Devil Rays’ surge coincides with the arrival of reliever Joe Borowski, who has anchored a bullpen that failed to protect leads in the first half of the season.

“The biggest difference has been the emergence of Borowski, quieting down the eighth inning,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “It relaxes other guys and allows them to pitch like they can.”

Signed on July 11 after being designated for assignment by the Chicago Cubs, Borowski pitched a perfect eighth Sunday in the Devil Rays’ 6-2 win and hasn’t allowed a run in six games with Tampa Bay.

“I find no bigger rush than pitching when the game is on the line,” the 34-year-old right-hander said. “Going out there, throwing strikes and making them put it in play. That’s all you can do.”

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Starting Pitchers

D. Wells LAD vs. D. Waechter KC
15-7 Record 5-12
4.45 ERA 5.62
107 K 87
21 BB 38
1.31 WHIP 1.46