BOSTON (AP)—While the Red Sox finally gave up some runs, their winning streak kept going.
Byung-Hyun Kim, pitching for the first time since making an obscene gesture toward booing Boston fans in last year’s playoffs, went five innings in the Red Sox’s third straight shutout, 4-0, in Thursday’s opener of a day-night doubleheader against Tampa Bay.
The streak of 32 scoreless innings ended in the first inning of the second game, but Boston won 7-3 for its sixth straight victory.
“When you have a rotation like ours, you’re not going to go on a lot of losing streaks,” said starter Derek Lowe, whose error led to the Devil Rays’ two unearned runs in the first. Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling started the first two shutouts.
“They’re going to give up runs, but they’re very good pitchers,” manager Terry Francona said of the relievers.
After the scoreless streak ended, Boston scored seven runs in the bottom of the first, three of them on catcher Jason Varitek’s fourth homer of the season.
“You know it’s not going to keep up,” he said. “We were able to hold them there and had a huge first inning.”
“I just tried to do as little damage as possible,” Halama said. “They’re an aggressive team.”
The other runs in the bottom of the first scored on Pokey Reese’s two-run single and RBI singles by David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Tampa Bay made it 7-3 in the fifth on Julio Lugo’s run-scoring triple.
The Devil Rays’ first two runs scored on Rocco Baldelli’s RBI groundout and Robert Fick’s run-scoring double. But Boston’s seven hits in the bottom half were one less than Tampa Bay’s total for the other two games of the series.
“We came in here and scored three runs in three games,” Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. “You pitch, you hit enough, you’ve got a pretty good chance” he said of the Red Sox.
Jose Cruz Jr. exemplified Tampa Bay’s offensive problems throughout Boston’s sweep of the three-game series. He went 0-for-5 Thursday, extending his slump to 0-for-33. On the same day, Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees broke his 0-for-32 slide with a homer against Oakland.
Boston swept its previous three-game series in New York.
In the opener, Kim was sharp after coming off the disabled list Thursday and gave the Fenway Park crowd reason to cheer him.
“Maybe the fans that don’t like me didn’t show up,” he said.
The shutout streak is Boston’s longest since 1990, when it threw 33 straight scoreless innings. The team record of 39 innings was set in 1919.
Kim (1-0) received loud ovations from the largest crowd at Fenway in 14 years when he took the mound in the first and when he left it in the fifth.
“I worry about a good start rather than how the fans are going to react,” he said. “As time goes, I think I am going to have better stuff.”
Last Oct. 4, Kim raised his middle finger when home fans booed him during introductions before the third game of the AL division series against Oakland. He later apologized.
Kim went on the disabled list in spring training with a strained right shoulder. In three rehabilitation appearances, he allowed no earned runs in 8 1-3 innings before being activated Thursday.
Ortiz hit a two-run homer in the fifth and added two doubles.
Boston’s shutout string began with five innings Saturday in a 3-2 win over the Yankees. The Red Sox beat New York again 2-0 on Sunday when Martinez pitched seven innings, and defeated Tampa Bay 6-0 Wednesday when Schilling pitched 7 1-3.
Kim left with a 2-0 lead on Ortiz’s fifth homer, a two-run shot in the fifth off Victor Zambrano (3-2). The other runs scored in the sixth on Mark Bellhorn’s sacrifice fly and in the seventh when Dave McCarty was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
The game was rescheduled after Tuesday night’s rainout. The afternoon attendance was 35,614, the most since 35,735 attended a game at Fenway on Sept.18, 1990.
Zambrano had a career-high 10 strikeouts in six innings. His previous high was eight last June 4 at the Chicago White Sox. … Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 10 games but his streak of games with an extra-base hit endedat nine in the night game.