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Wells responds in return with complete game for Red Sox

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- David Wells had no trouble with the Baltimore Orioles or the umpires.

In his first start since serving a six-game suspension, the excitable Wells was solid and steady for the Red Sox, pitching his first nine-inning complete game of the season in Boston's 5-1 win Sunday.

"Right now, every win is clutch for us," Wells said. "I felt good. My body felt good. Warming up was pretty good. I didn't feel rusty at all."

Wells (12-6) was suspended for arguing with umpires on July 2, but came back strong. He allowed seven hits, struck out four and retired his last 12 batters. It was the seventh time in eight games that he did not issue a walk.

During the suspension, Wells worked out at Fenway Park. He also was called to a meeting Wednesday with baseball officials in New York. Afterward he apologized for saying commissioner Bud Selig dragged his feet on the steroid issue.

"I found out I was wrong," Wells said Sunday, but declined to comment on Selig.

Wells had one other complete game this season, a 3-1 loss at Baltimore that was shortened to six innings by rain.

"Regardless of how much (the suspension) bothered him or how he felt about things, he really did a good job to get ready for his start," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

Rodrigo Lopez (13-9) pitched better than Wells in the first four innings, retiring his first 11 batters after he set down the last 14 batters in his previous start against Boston. He allowed one hit through four, while Wells gave up five hits and put runners on base in each inning.

Lopez lost his touch quickly in the fifth when the first six batters reached safely, leading to five runs -- three on John Olerud's sixth homer.

Singles by Trot Nixon and Bill Mueller put runners at first and third, and Olerud sent the first pitch from Lopez over the fence in front of the right-field bullpens. It came three days after he had two homers and six RBI in a win over Tampa Bay.

Doug Mirabelli then doubled, Tony Graffanino singled with a hard shot that hit Lopez and Johnny Damon doubled both home.

"They're hot, and when you're hot everything works for you," Lopez said. "They're comfortable and they're doing what they need to do to get ready for the playoffs."

Wells retired the side in order in the fifth before allowing a run on consecutive doubles by Melvin Mora and Miguel Tejada in the sixth. But those were the last baserunners for the Orioles, who had trouble seeing the ball as shadows crept over the field late in the game.

"As you get older it gets tougher and tougher" to pitch a complete game, the 42-year-old Wells said, "but it's pretty gratifying. I'm pretty stoked right now."

Lopez entered with a 10-4 career record -- the most wins by any pitcher against Boston since 2002 -- and a 3.54 ERA against the Red Sox.

Notes

  • Graffanino returned to the lineup at 2B after missing four games with a strained hamstring.
  • The Orioles lost their second straight game after winning three in a row and are 4-12 in their last 16.
  • Baltimore's Jay Gibbons went 2-for-3 and was 7-for-12 in the series.
  • Boston scored fewer than seven runs for the second time in its last 17 home games.
  • 1B Kevin Millar was benched in favor of Olerud after hitting his third homer in three starts Saturday night. The lefty-hitting Olerud faced the right-handed Lopez.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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'As you get older it gets tougher and tougher,' David Wells, 42, says of pitching a complete game.  (AP)
'As you get older it gets tougher and tougher,' David Wells, 42, says of pitching a complete game. (AP)

Players of the Game
Boston

J. Olerud
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
Boston

D. Wells
IP 9.0
H 7
ER 1
BB 0
K 4
 

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Baltimore Orioles
Brian Roberts, 2B4010000 .311
Melvin Mora, 3B3110010 .278
Miguel Tejada, SS4021001 .315
Jay Gibbons, RF4020001 .270
Javy Lopez, DH4000015 .288
B.J. Surhoff, 1B4010003 .261
Eric Byrnes, LF3000013 .243
Luis Matos, CF3000010 .288
Geronimo Gil, C3000000 .196
Totals321710413 
Batting
2B - Melvin Mora (26, Wells), Miguel Tejada (45, Wells)
RBI - Miguel Tejada (89)
CS - Brian Roberts (8, 2nd base by Wells/Mirabelli)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jay Gibbons 1
DP - B. Roberts-Tejada-Surhoff
Baltimore Orioles
Rodrigo Lopez (L,13-9) 5755131 4.97
Eric DuBose 2000020 6.16
James Baldwin 1000100 3.57
Pitches-Strikes - Rodrigo Lopez 88-50, Eric DuBose 26-15, James Baldwin 9-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rodrigo Lopez 4-7, Eric DuBose 2-2, James Baldwin 1-1
Batters Faced - Rodrigo Lopez 22, Eric DuBose 6, James Baldwin 3
Boston Red Sox
Johnny Damon, CF3012000 .322
   a- Gabe Kapler, PH-CF1000000 .247
Edgar Renteria, SS4000010 .286
David Ortiz, DH2010200 .294
Manny Ramirez, LF4000003 .285
Trot Nixon, RF3110000 .288
Bill Mueller, 3B3110000 .297
John Olerud, 1B3113010 .325
Doug Mirabelli, C3110010 .236
Tony Graffanino, 2B3110020 .308
    Alex Cora, 2B0000000 .225
Totals29575253 
a-grounded out for Damon in the 7th
Batting
2B - Johnny Damon (32, Lopez), Doug Mirabelli (5, Lopez)
HR - John Olerud (6, Lopez)
RBI - Johnny Damon 2 (69), John Olerud 3 (32)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
DP - Renteria-Graffanino-Olerud
Boston Red Sox
David Wells (W,12-6) 9711040 4.24
HBP - Mora (by David Wells)
Pitches-Strikes - David Wells 114-82
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Wells 9-12
Batters Faced - David Wells 33
Game Information
Attendance - 35003
Game Time - 2:20
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Chuck Meriwether, First Base - Mike Everitt, Second Base - Tim Timmons, Third Base - Tim McClelland