CHICAGO -- Tim Wakefield's wakeup call came several years ago. To keep pitching he needed to work on more than just his baffling knuckleball. His body needed attention, too.
And that's why at age 41, he's having one of his best seasons. He allowed just three hits over seven scoreless innings Saturday, joining teammate Josh Beckett as the only 16-game winners in the majors, and leading the surging Boston Red Sox to a 14-2 rout of the Chicago White Sox.
"I feel the same as I did in '05 and '04 and '03. I really started taking a lot of pride six years ago," Wakefield said.
Wakefield knew it was time to get in top shape to prolong his career.
"It was like, 'I'd better start doing stuff. I'm 35 and I want to continue to play until I'm in my 40s.' I take a lot of satisfaction that I've been in shape the last couple of years."
His knuckleball was hard to handle and even harder to hit as Wakefield won for the 11th time in his last 14 starts. He has a decision in all of his 26 starts, the first to reach that number since Jack McDowell posted decisions in his first 27 starts with the Chicago White Sox in 1993.
"I'm going to try my best. It's a long way away as far as breaking records and all that stuff," Wakefield said. "I just want for us as a team to continue to win and get to the postseason. That's all that's important to me.
Wakefield got plenty of help from the potent Red Sox offense.
The Red Sox, who swept a doubleheader from slumping Chicago on Friday when Beckett won his 16th, got their major league-leading 79th win, breaking a scoreless tie by scoring four times in the sixth off Mark Buehrle (9-9). The rally was capped by Bobby Kielty's two-run bases-loaded single.
Kielty finished with four RBI and Mike Lowell had four hits for Boston, which has outscored Chicago 35-6 in the three-game series. The Red Sox have won five of their last six games.
"This is the time of year to get on that run. You can't coast through the season any more," Wakefield said. "It's like you have to leave the switch on right now."
Chicago got its only runs on Paul Konerko's two-run homer off reliever Kyle Snyder in the eighth. The White Sox lost for the 12th time in 14 games and fell 17 games under .500 for the first time since 1999.
Manager Ozzie Guillen met with his team after the game. He said his players haven't quit on him but he doesn't want them feeling sorry for themselves.
"It's not easy for me to come here and see this thing day in and day out," Guillen said, adding he went to the field so many times to change relief pitchers in Boston's eight-run eighth that he lost count.
"That's embarrassing. Not a good feeling," he said. "If I'm going to have this job, to feel this way every day, I'd rather be home because I have pride."
After allowing the single to Owens on an 0-2 pitch in the first, Wakefield walked A.J. Pierzynski but got out of it with two fly balls.
But Lowell foiled the strategy by hitting a 1-2 pitch to left for an RBI single, and Kevin Youkilis followed with another run-scoring hit in almost the same spot to make it 2-0.
Moments later Kielty came through with a third straight single in the hole to left to score Ramirez. Lowell also raced home when Chicago left fielder Andy Gonzalez hesitated throwing the ball back to the infield, and Boston had a 4-0 lead.
Youkilis added an RBI double in the seventh.
- Boston has won six of seven from the White Sox this season, outscoring them 66-20.
- Kielty has long been a tough out for Buehrle, entering the game 16-for-45 (.356) against him, including a homer in 2002 when he was with the Twins that denied the Chicago lefty a 20-win season.