BOSTON -- Tim Wakefield outdid the legendary Cy Young and the lowly Tampa Bay Devil Rays on the same day.
The knuckleballer passed Young on Boston's career strikeout list during his third straight strong start, leading the Red Sox to a 3-1 win Sunday as the Devil Rays failed to get a hit for the last seven innings.
With 1,343 strikeouts, two more than Young, Wakefield trails only Roger Clemens (2,590) and Pedro Martinez (1,596) in the team's record book.
"It means a lot to me," said Wakefield, whose knuckleball is far different from the fastballs of Clemens and Martinez. "I'm very fortunate to be here for such a long period of time to reach those milestones."
He's in his 11th season with the Red Sox, rare in an era when free-agent contracts lure players to new teams all the time. Like retired knuckleballers Charlie Hough and Phil Niekro, who pitched successfully into their 40s, the 38-year-old Wakefield thinks his best days might be ahead.
"I feel great health-wise," he said. "My arm doesn't bother me. My legs are fine."
Wakefield (2-0) struck out five and allowed one run and four hits in six innings. Boston completed a three-game sweep in which it outscored Tampa Bay 19-3.
The Red Sox won their fourth consecutive game, scoring only in the third inning off Scott Kazmir (0-1) on Edgar Renteria's second homer with Boston and Jay Payton's two-run single after singles by David Ortiz and Kevin Millar.
"That ball was crushed," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said, referring to Renteria's homer. "That was a Manny (Ramirez) swing."
Kazmir threw 97 pitches in five innings. He got little support from a team that hasn't come close to a winning record in its seven seasons.
"You want to go later in the game, but it's not going to happen when, in the beginning of the game, you can't find your control," Kazmir said. "On first-pitch strikes, I was eight out of 25. That's horrible."
Kazmir, the second-youngest player in the majors at 21, allowed six hits, walked four and struck out three.
Wakefield allowed four hits in the first two innings, including Carl Crawford's RBI single in the second, then held Tampa Bay hitless for four innings before being replaced by Matt Mantei. Alan Embree retired his four batters and Keith Foulke pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.
Foulke had struggled in most of his outings this season.
"He looked like he felt really good," Francona said.
In the first two games of the series, David Wells pitched seven innings in a 10-0 win Friday night and Matt Clement went seven in a 6-2 victory Saturday night.
In his other two starts, Wakefield allowed two earned runs in six innings but didn't get a decision in a 7-3 win at Yankee Stadium on April 6 and no earned runs in seven innings in an 8-1 victory over the Yankees in Boston five days later.
Wakefield is 10-0 against the Devil Rays since they beat him April 16, 1999, in Boston. He also passed Bob Stanley for seventh place in team history with 116 wins.
He struggled in the first when Crawford led off with a double and went to third on a single by Julio Lugo, who stole second. But Wakefield retired the next three batters, two on strikeouts.
"We had some chances, especially in the first inning," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "We didn't do it. It would set the tone a little bit, put a couple of runs on the board."
The Devil Rays took a 1-0 lead in the second on a leadoff double by Travis Lee, a fly out that sent him to third and a single by Crawford. But in the next four innings, the only two Tampa Bay runners reached on walks.
Boston left the bases loaded in the first when Johnny Damon, Ortiz and Millar walked but Payton fanned for the final out.
|Players of the Game|
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|Tampa Bay Devil Rays|
|Carl Crawford, LF||4||0||2||1||0||1||1||.261|
|Julio Lugo, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.267|
|Alex Sanchez, CF||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.231|
|Aubrey Huff, RF||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.267|
|Josh Phelps, DH||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.273|
|Travis Lee, 1B||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||.263|
|Jorge Cantu, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.313|
|Charles Johnson, C||1||0||0||0||2||0||0||.400|
|Alex Gonzalez, 3B||2||0||0||0||0||1||3||.355|
|2B - Carl Crawford (2, Wakefield), Travis Lee (3, Wakefield)|
|RBI - Carl Crawford (11)|
|2-OUT RBI - Carl Crawford (2)|
|SB - Julio Lugo (6, 2nd base off Wakefield/Mirabelli)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|E - Julio Lugo (5, throwing error)|
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays|
|Scott Kazmir (L,0-1)||5||6||3||3||4||3||1||4.80|
|Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 97-52, Doug Waechter 39-25|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 8-4, Doug Waechter 3-3|
|Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 25, Doug Waechter 11|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Johnny Damon, CF||3||0||1||0||1||1||2||.277|
|Edgar Renteria, SS||4||1||1||1||0||0||4||.255|
|Manny Ramirez, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||4||.222|
|David Ortiz, DH||3||1||1||0||1||1||0||.295|
|Kevin Millar, 1B||3||1||2||0||1||0||0||.243|
|David McCarty, 1B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.500|
|Jay Payton, RF||4||0||1||2||0||1||4||.333|
|Doug Mirabelli, C||3||0||0||0||1||1||2||.182|
|Bill Mueller, 3B||3||0||0||0||1||0||2||.205|
|Mark Bellhorn, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.250|
|2B - Johnny Damon (3, Waechter), Mark Bellhorn (5, Kazmir)|
|HR - Edgar Renteria (2, Kazmir)|
|RBI - Edgar Renteria (8), Jay Payton 2 (6)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Mueller-Bellhorn-Millar|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Tim Wakefield (W,2-0)||6||4||1||1||3||5||0||1.37|
|Matt Mantei (H,1)||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||5.79|
|Alan Embree (H,1)||1.1||0||0||0||0||3||0||2.35|
|Keith Foulke (S,2)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.86|
|HBP - Gonzalez (by Matt Mantei)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Tim Wakefield 100-65, Matt Mantei 9-4, Alan Embree 17-11, Keith Foulke 13-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Wakefield 5-7, Matt Mantei 2-0, Alan Embree 1-0, Keith Foulke 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Tim Wakefield 24, Matt Mantei 3, Alan Embree 4, Keith Foulke 3|
|Attendance - 35232|
|Game Time - 2:35|
|Temperature - 67|
|Umpires - Home - Paul Nauert, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Larry Poncino, Third Base - Mark Wegner|