Red Sox 11, Athletics 3

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BOSTON (AP)—The Boston Red Sox are expecting more games like this from Pedro Martinez in the second half of the season.

That’s why they’re letting him get a head start.

“We’re trying to set up the second half where we can run these guys out there a lot,” manager Terry Francona said Wednesday night after the Red Sox beat the Oakland Athletics 11-3 thanks to seven strong innings from Martinez in his final start before the All-Star break.

Nomar Garciaparra, Manny Ramirez and Mark Bellhorn homered to help Boston amass 22 runs on 32 hits in the first two games of the series. The Red Sox won consecutive games for the first time since June 17-18.

“Man, it’s been three weeks?” center fielder Johnny Damon said. “We feel like we can take off. It’s probably a good time to start.”

Martinez (9-3) allowed one earned run on five hits and a walk, striking out seven. He gave up three runs in the third before settling down and facing one batter above the minimum over the next four innings.

The three-time Cy Young winner could have pitched a day earlier on his regular rest and then again on Sunday before the break. But Red Sox management decided to give him an extra day off because of an off-day; he isn’t expected to start again until next Thursday, giving him seven days of rest between starts.

“If it were up to me, I’d continue to pitch,” he said. “But it’s not going to affect my work.”

Boston has been helped by the Oakland defense, which entered the series leading the AL but committed two more errors—and several other misplays—to go with the two on Tuesday night.

“We’ve got to get back to playing our game, which is pitching and playing solid defense,” manager Ken Macha said. “The defense runs in streaks. But it will come back.”

Mark Redman (6-6) lost his third consecutive start. He allowed six earned runs on nine hits and left trailing 7-3 with two on and two outs in the third.

“Hopefully, the All-Star break will cool my bad streak off,” Redman said.

Damon had two more hits—he had five on Tuesday—and three RBIs, and Bill Mueller had three hits and scored twice for Boston. Oddly, David Ortiz was hitless for the second consecutive night, and fellow All-Star Ramirez has just one hit—a mammoth homer to lead off the seventh—in the series.

Bellhorn’s solo homer gave Boston the lead in the first, and Garciaparra ledoff the second with a homer to key a five-run inning.


Damon fouled a ball off his knee in the third and needed care from the trainer but remained in the game. … Francona came out to argue with plate umpire Ron Kulpa when Bellhorn appeared to foul a ball off his foot in the fourth. But Kulpa ruled it a fair ball and Bellhorn was out, first baseman unassisted. … Garciaparra’s homer was his 500th career extra-base hit. … Damon’s second-inning single was his 1,500th hit. … Boston INF Cesar Crespo accepted his assignment to Triple-A Pawtucket and was expected to report immediately. Crespo was designated for assignment last Friday to make room for the return of 3B Mueller. … Byung-Hyun Kim allowed one run and two hits in 1 1-3 innings on a rehab assignment at Triple-A. Ramiro Mendoza gave up one runand five hits in 1 2-3 innings for Pawtucket.

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