Red Sox 5, Angels 3

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BOSTON (AP)—Right after the final out Sunday, Red Sox manager Grady Little was eagerly anticipating the next game at Fenway Park.

By beating the Anaheim Angels 5-3 Sunday, Boston tied the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East.

And starting Monday night, the Yankees will start a three-game series at Boston.

“I think those baseball gods kind of work in weird ways, don’t they?” Little said.

“On the eve before the Yankees are coming into town they kind of put us in a tie and I don’t guess that any of us would have it any differently,” he said.

The Red Sox and Yankees have not played this season. Pedro Martinez will pitch Tuesday night for Boston and Roger Clemens will start the finale Wednesday night for the Yankees.

Behind a strong pitching effort from John Burkett and solid hitting by Bill Mueller and Jason Varitek, the Red Sox averted a three-game sweep.

Boston and the Chicago Cubs are the only teams that have not lost three in a row this season.

“That is quite a feat for any ballclub to never sustain any losing streak of more than two games over the first couple of months of the season. We are awfully proud of that fact,” Little said.

Burkett won for the first time in eight starts and Varitek drove in two runs.

“For me the most important thing is the location of my fastball, and I think it has been pretty good the last three or four games for whatever reason,” Burkett said.

Manny Ramirez homered and Mueller had three hits for Boston.

“Mueller is a special kind of player. He is able to have a good game defensively, no matter where he plays on the field. And he has been able to put together a lot of games where he has had multiple hits,” Little said.

Nomar Garciaparra went 2-for-4 for the Red Sox to extend his hitting streak to 19 games, the longest current string in the majors.

Boston took a 4-0 lead in the second inning against John Lackey (2-4) and never trailed, avoiding a three-game sweep by the World Series champions.

David Ortiz singled to lead off second. With one out, Trot Nixon reached on an error by first baseman Scott Spiezio and Jeremy Giambi was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Varitek then doubled to center scoring both Ortiz and Nixon. Johnny Damon had an RBI groundout and Mueller followed with a single that scored Varitek.

Burkett (2-2) allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings to win for the first time since his first start of the season, April 4 against Baltimore.

Robert Person allowed one run in the ninth and got his first save.

Anaheim cut the lead to 4-1 in the third inning when Eric Owens doubled to left, moved to third on a bunt single by Jeff DaVanon and scored on David Eckstein’s sacrifice fly.

“I think a hit instead of a sacrifice fly could have made a big difference in that inning,” Eckstein said. “But, we play the full nine innings and we would rather come from behind and win than get ahead and lose.”

Ramirez hit his sixth home run of the season leading off the third to make it 5-1.

The Angels added a run off Boston reliever Ramiro Mendoza in the eighth to cut it to 5-2. Adam Kennedy doubled with one out and scored on a triple by Troy Glaus.

Lackey allowed five runs—two earned—and nine hits in six innings.


Hall of Famer Willie Mays was in attendance Sunday as a guest of Red Sox president Larry Lucchino. Mays played in Fenway Park twice in the 1961 All-Star Game and in 1954 in an exhibition for the Jimmy Fund. … Anaheim’s Tim Salmon has the longest hitting streak in the majors this season at 20 games. … Nixon was removed from the game at the end of the second inning with tightness in both hamstrings and is day to day. … Spiezio’s error in the second inning was his fourth of the year. … Anaheim leads the AL with 40stolen bases.

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