Red Sox 6, Devil Rays 3

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Tim Wakefield was foundering before Boston’s offense gave him a boost.

Wakefield rebounded from a rough start to pitch seven solid innings, and David McCarty hit a three-run homer to lead the Red Sox over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 6-3 Monday night.

Kevin Youkilis had a two-run double during a three-run fifth as the Red Sox rebounded from two straight losses to AL Central-leading Minnesota. Boston trails the Yankees by nine games in the AL East and the Texas Rangers by a half game in the wild-card race.

“The offense did a great job of getting me back in the ballgame,” Wakefield said. “It’s motivating for me, knowing that it’s very important to get my offense back in the dugout.”

Wakefield (7-6), celebrating his 38th birthday, gave up three runs, four hits, four walks and struck out three. The knuckleballer is 10-1 in his career against Tampa Bay.

Wakefield put Boston in a 2-0 hole after an inning, but McCarty put the Red Sox ahead 3-2 with his home run in the second. It was his first homer since May 30 against Seattle, a span of 63 at-bats. McCarty is 3-for-4 with two homers and seven RBIs against Tampa Bay starter Mark Hendrickson.

“It was a change up out over the plate,” McCarty said. “I think it helped to kind of get us going a little bit. It’s nice to get a win for Wake on his birthday, too.”

Hendrickson (8-9) allowed six runs and six hits in 4 2-3 innings. He had complete game victories in two of his three previous starts.

“Two bad pitches … multiple runs,” Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson has lost both his starts against Boston this season, allowing 12 runs in 10 2-3 innings.

Tino Martinez hit a two-run shot in the first for Tampa Bay, which is 5-2 on a season long 13-game homestand. Martinez has two homers and six RBIs in 58 at-bats since the All-Star break.

“We didn’t swing the bats very well,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “Got going there with a two-run homer in the first and that’s about all we did all night.”

Wakefield retired 10 straight after Martinez’s homer. The stretch ended when Cruz Jr. singled and Julio Lugo walked with two outs in the fourth, but the Devil Rays failed to score when Toby Hall hit a fielder’s choice grounder.

Wakefield moved past Luis Tiant into third place on the franchise list with 239 starts. He trails only Cy Young and Roger Clemens.

Youkilis’ double during a three-run fifth extended Boston’s lead to 6-2. Youkilis scored when third baseman Aubrey Huff was charged with an error for misplaying Manny Ramirez’s grounder.

Rocco Baldelli pulled Tampa Bay to 6-3 on a run-scoring grounder in the bottom of the fifth. He has driven in 10 runs over his past 10 games.

Alan Embree retired his only two batters in the eighth. Keith Foulke then got the final four outs for his 17th save in 22 opportunities.

Notes

Boston 2B Mark Bellhorn (thumb) was placed on the 15-day disabled list. 3B Bill Mueller was moved to second and Youkilis played third. “This opens up a spot to get Youkilis’ bat in the line up as long as Mueller can handle second, which he says he’ll do with no problems,” Francona said. … OF Dave Roberts, obtained from Los Angeles on Saturday, was added to the Boston roster. … Tampa Bay SS B.J. Upton, 19, make his major league debut as the DH. He singled to right in the seventh for his first hit and wound up 1-for-3 with a walk. “The first at-bat, the first pitch, I thought I was kind of nervous,” Upton said. “After that, I felt like it was another game.” Upton will start at short Tuesday… Martinez tied Reggie Smith for 91st place on the career list with 314 homers. … Devil Rays RHP John Webb also appeared in his first major league game. He gave up two hits in 1 1-3 scoreless innings.

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